Watering Maple Trees

Maple thrives in moist, well-draining soil. Too little soil moisture and this ornamental can suffer from dehydration. Too much soil moisture and poor drainage suffocates maple’s roots and encourages root rot. To keep your maple healthy, plant it in a site that drains well, and ensure it receives adequate amounts of water for its lateral root system to stay moist.


How To Tell If Maple Needs Watered

Moisture-loving maple will tell you when it’s quenched. Symptoms of dehydration include limp, yellow, curling, or wilted leaves, dropped leaves and flowers, and cracked or split bark. The soil 6-to-8 inches below the surface should be slightly moist, so if the soil around this ornamental looks dry or is cracked, you know it’s time to water. However, if the signs are not so clear, grab a bit of soil between your fingers and rub it; if the soil sticks together lightly, its moisture content should be acceptable; if it’s crumbly and falls apart, it’s time to water; and if it’s runny, the soil’s oversaturated. 

Is oversaturation that bad of a problem? It can be; an excess of water may lead to root rot and root suffocation. Symptoms of maple suffering from the soil being oversaturated with water include stunted growth, sparse canopy, weak limbs, and drooping, wilted, fragile, and brown leaves.

How Often To Water Maple

After watering maple well upon planting, water this ornamental once or twice per week for the first year.

Mature maple trees should receive about one inch of rainfall per week. While somewhat tolerant of drought, watering is wise to offset any extended lack of rain.

For potted maples, water the container well one or two times per week, depending on the season. Ideally, potted maples should receive about an inch of water per week. Additionally, apply a 2-to-3-inch mulch ring on the potting soil to reduce water loss due to dehydration. Pull any mulch away from the trunk to avoid rot.


Best Time To Water Maple

The best time to water maple outdoors is in the early morning or evening. Watering during these periods allows the roots to absorb as much water as possible before the rest is lost to evaporation. When watering indoors, the best time to water is in the morning. During the winter, however, it’s better to water during midday when the temperatures are at least 40 degrees F. Watering at this time will enable maple’s roots to extract as much moisture from the soil as possible.

How to Water Maple

Step 1 – Ensure mature maples receive one inch of water per week.

Mature maples outdoors require about an inch of water per week. Examine maple and its surrounding soil to see if watering is needed. Water deeply if the top 6 to 8 inches of soil are dry.

Step 2 - Mature maples maintained indoors require watering once or twice weekly, depending on the season. If the top 1 to 3 inches of soil are dry, water deeply. 

Step 3 - Apply a 2-3-inch ring of mulch around the root zone to prevent water loss due to evaporation. Pull mulch away from the trunk.

Maple Watering Tips

  • Maple thrives in moist soil that drains well. To support its health, do not overwater or let the soil dry out completely. 
  • Provide about an inch of water per week to properly hydrate the roots. Compensate for lack of rainfall by watering, preferably in the morning or evenings during the spring, summer, and fall, and at noon in winter.
  • Do not water as often during the winter, and only water when temperatures are above 40 degrees F.

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 Author Suellen Barnes - Published 4-27-2023