Plane Tree Water Needs – Tips For Watering A London Plane Tree

Large Plane Tree With Many Branches
plane tree water
(Image credit: ani_Autio)

London plane trees have been popular urban specimens for nearly 400 years, and with good reason. They are remarkably hardy and tolerant of a variety of conditions. Once established, they require little additional care with the exception of watering. How much water does a plane tree need? Plane tree water needs depend on a number of factors. Keep reading to learn about watering a London plane tree.

How Much Water does a Plane Tree Need?

As with all trees, the age of the plane tree dictates the amount of watering it requires, but that isn’t the only factor to consider regarding plane tree irrigation. The time of the year and weather conditions are, of course, a huge factor when determining a plane tree’s water needs. Soil conditions are also a factor when determining when and how much water a tree needs. Once all these have been taken into account, you’ll have a good plan for watering a London plane tree.

London Plane Tree Watering Guide

London plane trees are suited to USDA zones 5-8 and are very hardy specimens. They prefer well-drained, moist soil, but they will tolerate some drought and also alkaline pH levels. They are quite disease and pest resistant, even against deer nibbling. The tree is thought to be a cross between the Oriental plane tree and the American sycamore, to which it bears a striking resemblance. Nearly 400 years ago, the first London plane trees were planted and found to thrive in the smoke and grime of London. As you might imagine, the only water the trees received at that time was from Mother Nature, so they had to be resilient. Like all young trees, the first growing season requires consistent plane tree irrigation as the root system develops. Water the root ball area and check it frequently. A newly planted tree may take a couple of years to become established. Established or mature trees generally do not need to be provided with extra irrigation, especially if they are planted in an area that has a sprinkler system, such as near a lawn. This, of course, is a general rule of thumb and, while plane trees are drought tolerant, the roots will search farther for a source of water. A thirsty tree will seek out a source of water. If the roots start growing out or down too far, they could end up interfering with walkways, sewer systems, sidewalks, streets, driveways, and even structures. Since this could be a problem, providing the tree with long deep waterings on occasion during dry spells is a good idea. Don’t irrigate directly adjacent to the trunk, as this can increase the risk of disease. Instead, water where the roots extend: at and beyond the canopy line. Drip irrigation or a slow running hose are ideal methods of plane tree irrigation. Water deeply rather than frequently. London plane trees need water about two times per month depending upon weather conditions. Turn off the water when it starts to run off. Let the water soak in and start watering again. Repeat this cycle until the soil is wet down to 18-24 inches (45.5-61 cm.). The reason for this is that soil that is high in clay soaks up water slowly, so it needs time to absorb the water.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.