Here’s How to Tell If Tree Is Overwatered

How to tell if a tree is overwatered is a surprisingly common concern for local gardeners. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to tell because the signs of too much watering might only show up sometime later. 

In this article, Cut Rite Tree Service’s reliable tree service experts in Paso Robles, CA, explain more.

How to Tell If Tree Is Overwatered

When it comes to professional advice about this aspect of caring for trees, there are several signs that arborists look for, such as: 

  • Is the tree trunk’s base constantly damp?
  • Does new growth from the base wither or go yellow before maturity?
  • Are there fragile leaves that break easily?
  • Is there stunted growth in general on the tree?
  • Are there curled or wilted leaves visible?

A tree care professional will also check the soil by digging about six or eight inches deep. If there’s standing water or the ground feels soaked, you’re overwatering. The soil should feel a little moist and cool but never sopping wet. 

Too Much Water is as Bad as Too Little

If you’re unsure how to tell if a tree is overwatered, it’s best to seek professional help to check. If you don’t, you will run the risk of saturating the soil, leaving water to fill all the tiny air pockets that are so vital. If your tree starts struggling to breathe, its roots will literally drown and, if left in the water for too long, develop root rot. 

The initial signs are difficult to spot because the roots become darker, slimy, and soft underground. But root rot will kill the tree over time and becomes almost impossible to treat. You might see small mushrooms or fungal growths around the tree’s base in the late stages of rot, but in the early stages, you would have to dig down to check the roots.

Can’t the Trees Take in Oxygen Through Their Leaves? 

Trees “breathe” in carbon dioxide through their leaves and exhale oxygen. Any oxygen they require for themselves comes from their roots. So, even though the canopy is out in the open air, it’s useless for this vital function.

The danger here is that you won’t notice many external symptoms until the damage progresses quite far. Advanced root rot also makes for a hazardous situation as the roots can’t support the canopy, making it easy for the wind to topple the tree. 

How Often to Water

Arborists would love to give an answer like “once a week” when it comes to how often to water your trees. However, several factors will affect this timeline, such as: 

  • The tree’s age. An arborist might suggest watering new saplings every three days for the first three weeks, then every two to three weeks up until the 12-week mark. Once there’s a strong root system, water once a week (usually, the first year or two). 
  • Rainfall. Most mature trees can care for themselves as long as there’s enough rainwater. If you check the soil periodically and it’s dry at about six inches down, water the tree. 
  • Seasons. A tree needs more water in summer because of the heat and growth spurts. But it’s best to water throughout the season rather than drowning the roots once a month.
  • Species. Have you planted indigenous species? They’ll do well in the local climate. Exotic species may need more care. 

Contact Us for Professional Tree Advice Today!

Learning how to tell if a tree is overwatered changes with the age and type of tree. And considering the importance of trees, it pays to work with a professional team for support.

So, call Cut Rite Tree Service at (559) 320-7723 today to schedule service in Paso Robles, CA!


We are a locally owned company that prides ourselves in providing the best service possible for the residents of Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Folwer, Reedley and the surrounding areas.

Contact Us

1806 N Temperance
Fresno, CA 93727


Call Now Button