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How Much Water Does An Oak Tree Need?

Ensuring the plants in your yard grow big and strong can sometimes feel impossible. Do you have an oak tree you're trying to grow but don't know how much water it will need? Well, we've done plenty of research and have all of the answers here for you. Let's check it out below.

Ideally, you want to water an oak tree every few weeks or once a month. Depending on how mature oak is, this can affect the amount of water it will need. For example, a new oak tree needs 10-15 gallons weekly, while an older tree needs that much for 30 days.

As we begin, we will cover all things oak trees and discuss how often to water one. Whether you're new to this tree species or have one growing in your garden, we're here to offer plenty of guidance. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

A breathtaking scenery of an oak tree plantation, How Much Water Does An Oak Tree Need?

How Often Should You Water An Oak Tree?

In general, you won't have to water an oak tree very often. As we mentioned, this tree species require little water, preferring it only a few times each month.

Furthermore, the weather can affect how much water your tree will need. So if it's cooler out, your oak may not need much or any water at all. Again, this comes down to climate and age, but generally, your oak tree will be low maintenance.

A huge oak tree photographed on the ground

Considering how moisture-sensitive oak is, it's better to underwater one than overdo it. The only time an oak will like plenty of water is right as you plant it. Newly planted, baby oak trees don't mind a few gallons of water each week, so that's something to consider.

Do Oak Trees Like Water?

Like any tree, oaks do like water to an extent. Besides needing some water to live and grow, maintaining a good schedule for your plant is essential. As we said, this shouldn't be too much, as oak is susceptible to waterlogging and root rot.

Think of your oak as a drought-friendly tree. That means if you don't water it each week, it will be okay and still flourish. It's also important not to give your tree too much water at a time.

Pouring gallons of water directly into its root system can send an oak into shock. Even if it's been a while, you want to ease an oak tree into drinking water, not submerge it.

Again, less is more for this species, so keep that in the back of your mind.

What Is The Best Environment For An Oak Tree?

Generally, oak trees will grow best in places with humus-rich, well-drained soil. Oaks also love the sun.

This goes for oaks of all ages, so the more direct sun exposure one gets, the better. Like any plant, the soil composition can also make a huge difference. Drainage is also a significant factor in how well an oak will grow.

If you live somewhere with poor drainage, you may want to add sand or gravel around your tree. Doing this will break up the ground, creating more pathways for excess water to escape.

The last thing you want is to have your oak sit in moisture for long periods.

It's also worth mentioning that mature oak trees are hardier against drought, clay soils, and less than ideal growing conditions.

Furthermore, if it often rains where you live, you may not need to water your oak at all.

Can An Oak Tree Grow In The Desert?

Shockingly, oak trees do well in desert climates. Although most gardeners don't think of oak when they imagine desert plants, this tree species can hold its own in heat and dry conditions.

However, you will have to water your plant more often if the conditions around it are intense. For example, if you're in Nevada or Arizona and it hasn't rained in a few months, make sure to water your tree every few weeks.

According to AZ Plant Lady, a few popular desert oak varieties, including southern live oak, cork oak, and holly oak, all do well in drier places, not often affected by a lack of water.

Southern oak trees tend to be the most common of the three, so that may be an idea for your landscape.

How Long Can An Oak Tree Go Without Water?

A huge American Oak tree

If you forget to water an oak tree or prefer to let nature take its course, don't expect yours to live long. In general, oaks will do best if they get 10-15 gallons of water each month.

So if it occasionally rains, you may be able to hold off on the water. However, problems can arise if it never rains and you don't water your tree.

According to the UC Division of Agriculture, your tree needs water if the soil under your oak (12 to 18 inches) is dry and crumbly. Although oak is drought-tolerant, that doesn't mean it will handle neglect well.

So if it's been a month or so and your tree looks like it needs some TLC, grab a hose and give it a thorough watering.

What Are The Signs Of A Dying Oak Tree?

For those worried about the status of their oak tree, there are some signs to look out for. Typically, dying or severely underwatered oak will have:

  • Yellowing leaves with greenish veins
  • Loss of foliage
  • Dead patches
  • Powdery mildew
  • Decaying bark
  • Fungus growth
  • Insects/animals present

On top of these, you also want to make sure the bark of your tree looks alive and healthy. If you scratch it and the underlying layer is brittle/discolored, your tree could be too far gone to save.

Again, oak tree death is usually preventable if you catch it early on, so watch your tree closely. It's also essential to give an oak enough water to survive through hotter, drier seasons, so if the soil nearby is extremely crumbly, it's time for a good watering.

What Happens If You Overwater An Oak Tree?

Switching gears, overwatering a tree can also be detrimental to its health. Generally, if you overwater an oak, its leaves appear green but feel incredibly brittle.

You may even notice the foliage on your tree become "bloated," which is a sign there is too much moisture present. Furthermore, if the ground underneath your oak tree is super wet, this means you've overwatered.

As we covered, oak trees are drought-tolerant, so too much water is just as bad as not watering one at all.

According to Jackson Tree Services, to test your tree for too much water, you should dig around 6-8 inches and feel the soil with your hands.

If it feels wetter than damp, avoid watering your tree for a few weeks. You have to allow your tree's roots to dry, so they don't become waterlogged.

You can also use a moisture meter if you want a more accurate soil reading, so that's another idea to consider.

XLUX Soil Moisture Meter

This moisture meter provides accurate soil readings, is easy to read, has a seven-inch probe, and doesn't require batteries.

Follow this link to view it on Amazon.

Will An Oak Tree Recover From Overwatering?

Depending on how severe the overwatering is, it may take an oak tree a few seasons to fully recover. When a tree becomes waterlogged, it essentially loses oxygen until the water can absorb or runoff.

So imagine your tree without oxygen (which it needs to live) for a day or two. That can cause months of damage to its root system and, in some cases, even kill it.

Luckily, it should bounce back as long as you stop watering your tree. Especially if the weather is colder, you want to avoid watering an oak very much or at all to avoid running into this problem before winter.

Are Oak Trees Easy To Care For?

A huge oak tree photographed at a field

Yes! Overall, caring for an oak tree will be very easy. As we mentioned earlier, oak is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant tree that doesn't need more than humus-rich soil and plenty of sunshine.

A fun fact about having an oak tree is that it attracts hundreds of varieties of moths and butterflies, ultimately becoming a haven for them to live and reproduce.

On top of that, oak trees tend to live for long periods, often reaching over 150 years. That makes them a perfect option for anyone not wanting to replace their tree every 20 or so years.

So if you need something lush, easy to care for, and love butterflies, we think an oak tree is perfect for your garden!

To Wrap It All Up

A breathtaking scenery of an oak tree plantation

Whether you have an oak tree growing in your yard or want one, it is essential to know how often to water it. You don't need to water an oak tree very often, from what we found.

Ideally, you should give your oak a thorough watering every month or so, although the climate can play a role in this. However, newly planted oaks can benefit from water every week or two, so that's something to remember.

Regardless of your oak's age, make sure it has good draining soil and plenty of direct sun exposure.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related garden posts below!

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