Here’s How Much Water Ash Trees Actually Need

Fraxinus excelsior ash seeds in winter.

So, how much water do ash trees actually need to do well in a given environment? Ash trees are drought tolerant and grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8. In general, here’s how much water ash trees need:

In the summer, new ash trees should be watered every 7-10 days with water reaching 2-3ft deep. In general during fall, spring, and winter, water your ash tree every 1-3 weeks. Ash trees generally need more water when it’s hotter and less when its colder. Established ash trees need less water.

Let’s dive deeper into the methods that you can use to water your ash tree and just how much water ash tree seeds, cuttings, seedling, saplings all specifically need!

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Do Ash Trees Need Lots Of Water? 

Fragrant yellow flowers of oronus fraxinus tree in bloom outdoor in europe. Oronus is a species of flowering tree in the oleaceae family in the environment. Flowering inflorescences of uncultivated ornus fraxinus tree in springtime. Blooming ornamental ornate ornate tree in europe outdoor.

Since ash trees can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, exactly how much water do they even really need? Well, although ash trees are drought resistant most of them do best in moist soil. 

According to North Carolina State Extension, the white ash tree grows best in rich, moist soil, like that that you’d find in certain mountainous areas or near riverbeds.

Ash trees need different amounts of water at different stages of their life. For example, a sapling would do very poorly if watered as much as a mature tree. That amount of water would be too much for such a small organism.

So, how much water does an ash tree need at different stages of its life? Let’s dive into that now!

Want to learn more about watering trees? Check out our article about Here’s How Much Water Coconut Trees Need (Watering Tips)

How Often Should You Water Ash Trees?

Fraxinus excelsior, ash tree, branch close up

Water requirements for your ash tree will also partly depend on the season.

Established trees in the summer should be watered every 7-10 days or so, during the fall and spring months, this can be decreased to roughly every 10-20 days, as the soil becomes drier.

During winter months, the rate of your watering can significantly decrease, to as infrequently as 14-21 days.

New Mexico State University gives a good explanation for a decrease in water requirements in the winter. As leaves drop from deciduous ash trees in the fall and winter, the use of water by the tree also decreases due to less volume of the tree, i.e. leaves, requiring water.

Next, we’re going to go over every possible scenario for watering your ash tree!

Watering Ash Tree Seeds

Common ash branch with flower buds - latin name - fraxinus excelsior

If you plan to grow your ash tree from seed, you’ll want to ensure that the soil around your seeds is kept constantly moist. Depending on your location, the amount of water for this requirement may change. 

We recommend checking the soil daily to ensure that it appears adequately moist and not too wet. Toward the end of the summer months, you can expect to lessen the amount of watering that you do. As temperatures begin to lower, the soil retains a bit more moisture on its own.

Watering Ash Tree Cuttings 

If you are starting from cuttings of an already-established ash tree, water requirements will vary as well. This is also referred to as propagating.

For this process, you’ll want to remove an 7-8inch section of greenwood from your ash tree. Next, remove all the leaves from this section, and place it into a pot filled with soil. 

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that the area of the section that used to have leaves attached is partially buried (about 3 nodes where leaves used to be attached is a safe reference) and water the soil thoroughly. 

Make sure the pot can support some of the water draining from the soil as needed so that it doesn’t retain too much moisture.

You’ll want to mist both the soil and the cutting daily to keep it moist. 

For either of these first two planting methods, you can use the misting technique to keep the soil in your pot moist. Using a product like this Ebristar Glass Plant Mister will allow you to easily keep your soil moist, and in doing so will help maintain a good environment for your plant to grow. 

What’s even cooler is the bottle itself is such a unique statement piece that doesn’t need to be put out of sight in the cupboard. Leave it among your plants and it’ll also act as an additional piece of decor. 

Watering Ash Tree Seedlings

If you decide to plant a seedling itself, an already growing juvenile plant, you can plant your ash tree directly into the soil outdoors. There is no need for the potting method that is used for the first two stages of planting. 

However, if you planted an ash tree from either a seed or a cutting, you’ll eventually have a seedling that is ready to be planted directly into the outdoor soil, so this is an important step. 

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources brings up a good consideration when planting anything in your landscape, you should be sure to check for underground gas and utility lines before digging anywhere. 

However, it is best to leave roots straight down as you plant, you don’t want any small roots sticking to the sides as they could quickly dry out, especially without proper watering. 

At this stage, you will want to adjust your watering practices for any plant outside. There is much more soil and a larger plant to work with. 

A product like this Irrigation/Hydroponics Dripline with 6-in Emitter Spacing is a simple to use and cheap method of drip irrigation that can be placed in a circular shape around the base of your young ash tree to ensure even irrigation.

Watering Ash Tree Saplings

Regardless of how your ash tree began its growth, once it is a sapling you can expect to water your ash tree a bit more frequently. 

You could plant your tree at this stage, as well, if you opt to buy a sapling as opposed to growing from a seed, cutting, or seedling.

The biggest factor in a successful sapling relocation comes back to the roots and the amount of moisture they receive. Dry roots will be the biggest cause of struggle when seeing how an ash tree assimilates to its new environment.

The general rule of thumb is that ash trees should start being watered at the same rate, and depth in the soil around this time of the tree’s life. 

You should water newly planted trees every 7 to 10 days, which tends to be the standard for most species of trees. 

The depth at which irrigation should penetrate the soil is about 24-36 inches, or 2-3 feet deep. This can be achieved by using irrigation systems like the one referenced above.

Watering Young Ash Trees

Young ash trees, older than a sapling but not quite in the ‘teenage years’ so to speak, will also require different amounts of water.

While this tree is not anymore newly planted, but not yet mature either, the frequency of watering can actually decrease for a period of time. This is because the tree is no longer trying to become established in the soil like it was at the beginning as a seedling or sapling. Additionally, it has a less extensive root system than it would during mid-life and at maturity. 

You can water young, established trees every 14-20 days or so to maintain moisture, but again, avoid overwatering, which could spell peril for this young tree.

Watering Almost Mature Ash Trees

Once your ash tree is nearing maturity, you can increase the frequency of watering a bit more. Mid-life ash trees are generally anywhere from 3-16 years of age (or more) depending on the tree species itself. 

The consistency of watering at this stage of life will remain the same throughout the rest of the ash tree’s life!

So, let’s move on to the next section to discuss the final stage of watering requirements for your ash tree.

Watering Mature Ash Trees

Ash trees reach maturity at anywhere from 16-60 years of age. This depends on many environmental factors, but the essence of it is that a tree at this stage of life will only require different amounts of watering when the seasons change. 

A mature ash tree can be watered anywhere between every 7-21 days, depending on the time of year and general soil conditions.

That’s All For Today!

Branches with seeds (helicopter seeds) of fraxinus excelsior (ash) are covered with snow in winter. Winter nature background.

Well, that’s all we have for now! Thanks for sticking around and learning how much water ash trees actually need.  

Let’s recap, in short, yes, ash trees need to be properly maintained with proper watering practices. 

Thank you for learning with us! As always, we wish you success as you embark or continue on your personal tree journey. Until next time, friends!

References:

Arbab, N., Grabosky, J., & Leopold, R. (2022). Economic Assessment of Urban Ash Tree Management Options in New Jersey. Sustainability, 14(4), 2172.

Vertessy, R. A., Hatton, T. J., Reece, P., O’sullivan, S. K., & Benyon, R. G. (1997). Estimating stand water use of large mountain ash trees and validation of the sap flow measurement technique. Tree Physiology, 17(12), 747-756.

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