How Often Should I Water Plum Trees? How Much Water?

Plums hanging from a thin plum tree branch.

Correctly watering your tree can make a big difference in its health. When it comes to purple plums, cooler conditions are better for them because they thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 to 8.

However, even in a perfect environment, the amount of water needed would vary. The amount of water a plum tree requires is determined by the kind of soil, tree size, and local climate. If water is applied incorrectly or in excess, the tree will display signs of stress.

Plum trees offer beauty to any environment while also producing a wonderful fruit yield that is a welcome addition every spring. Plums taste great straight from the tree, in pies, and even in jellies.

Plum trees are a favorite among rookie arborists since they are the easiest fruit trees to grow if you know how to take care of them properly. A new plum tree in your yard or an older one you’ve inherited will need proper care, so make sure to follow these measures.

Importance of Water for Plum Trees

Water is critical to your plum tree’s health. Young plum trees should have their roots watered at least once a week to ensure a strong tree. As soon as the tree has grown to its full potential, it will require regular watering, especially during the hot, dry summer. Depending on how dry the weather is, you may need to water your plum tree more frequently. This allows the soil to become soaked all the way to the root zone while allowing it to dry out.

You should always check for dry or wet soil before watering because it can induce stress-related diseases. When your plum tree is properly fed and watered, it will have a robust root system and be more drought resistant, as well as less susceptible to disease and pests.

Watering Frequency

Plum trees require moist soil up to a depth of 24 inches for optimum growth. You need to water your tree so that the moisture level stays at this level. Every 14 to 21 days of inundation or utilizing a sprinkler can maintain the tree healthy over the summer.

Loss of Water

Evapotranspiration is the daily loss of water from your soil. You can use the rate at which this process occurs to determine how often you should water your plum tree. You should know this rate since it will help you figure out how much water to put to your plum when you water it again. It is dependent on the size of the tree and the weather conditions. Equilibrium conditions like temperature and humidity influence evapotranspiration rates.

In early spring and late fall, when it is chilly and misty, the plant loses an average of 0.1 inches of water every day. When it’s foggy or getting closer to summer, this pace jumps to 0.2 inches each day.

Summer days without fog may lead the tree to lose 0.25 inches of water daily, while temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hot and windy will cause it to lose 0.3 inches of water daily.

Irrigation Amounts and frequency

Drought-resilient roots are encouraged by deep watering, which also reduces the heat concerns associated with shallow roots and the quickly varying soil surface temperature.

During irrigation, apply as much water as necessary to reach the tree’s roots and beyond. Watering young trees only need about 2 liters of water. Every time you water an adult plum tree, you’ll need to use 8 gallons of water.

The soil needs to be dry all the time for plum trees to do well. By watering less frequently, the soil has a chance to dry out between irrigation treatments, protecting the plum tree’s roots from the stresses of wet soil.

All plum trees benefit from twice-weekly watering, regardless of variety. To help transfer nutrients to the tree’s roots, gardeners should water their plum trees immediately after fertilization. This will reduce the chance of nitrogen burns on the tree’s leaves.

Water Conservation

Mulch, such as wood chips and¬†shredded bark, can help gardeners save moisture. Mulch, when applied around the tree’s base, reduces evaporation-related water loss. Mulch also serves to keep weeds at bay.

Hedges not only compete with plum trees for resources such as soil, water, and sunlight, they are often breeding grounds for disease and insects. Mulch should be 3 – 4 inches thick and not touch the tree’s trunk for optimal benefits.

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Size Matters

Plum trees that are more than a year old will require more water than young trees with little or no growth. The evaporation rate has an impact on how much rain falls. Purple leaf plums typically cover an area of 20 square feet or more. During the hot and windy summer, a fully grown plum will require more than 50 gallons of water; during the cold early spring or fall, it will only require 18 to 20 gallons.

Measuring the canopy space all the way to the drip line can tell you how big your tree is. The tree’s size is determined by the area on the ground where it will be placed and how much it will need to be watered.

Signs of Improper Irrigation

Plum trees that display signs of dehydration, such as browning leaf margins or general leaf withering, are receiving insufficient water. Depending on the temperature and soil conditions, the watering requirements may rise over the conventional guidelines. Plum trees can show signs of overwatering by changing from a light brown to a dark green or black bark at the base.

Irrigation Application Tip

Whenever possible, irrigate the tree from the ground up. A plum tree’s foliar diseases are more likely if its leaves are wet from overhead irrigation, especially when it is young.

Final Thoughts

Plum trees need an adequate amount of water to grow properly. To water the trees adequately, follow the guidance and advice presented above to ensure that your plum trees grow properly and provide a good yield in the harvesting season.

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