How to Save a Dying Tree from Lack of Water

Trees suffer from a lack of water for a variety of reasons, including droughts and overcrowding. In Phoenix, AZ, our trees are especially prone to dehydration due to our unique weather conditions, such as high summer temperatures and lack of rainfall. 

If you catch the symptoms early on, you can easily treat a dehydrated tree. Today we will explain the symptoms and how to save a dying tree from a lack of water. 

Signs that Your Tree Needs Water

The primary symptoms of an under-watered tree are: 

  • Leaf discoloration (such as scorch or fall-like yellow or brown coloration)
  • Wilted or abnormally small leaves
  • Partially-dead branches (such as the tips)
  • Dry soil (either on the surface or a few inches below)

If other problems also show up on your tree, such as mold patches or blemishes, your tree likely has a different disease. Contact a top-notch arborist in Phoenix who can determine the cause and advise you on how to proceed. 

3 Easy Suggestions on How to Save a Dying Tree From Lack of Water

  • Water It!

The obvious solution to how to save a dying tree from lack of water is to water the tree. However, not all trees require the same amount of water. 

Follow specific watering instructions for your tree and region as you could create the opposite problem, aka overwatering and root rot. 

An effective watering method is to place a sprinkler directly below the tree so the spray reaches the entire root system. Use an old can to measure when the sprinkler has produced about two inches of water. When the water hits this line, turn off the sprinkler. 

You should water mature trees in Phoenix, AZ every 4-6 days during the summer. Water less frequently during the winter. If you have planted a young tree, water it every 2-3 days. 

  • Boost Tree Health with Other Techniques

If your tree is dying, you can improve its overall health with other techniques such as using proper soil, mulch, and fertilizer. Adding about 2 inches of organic mulch on top of the soil surrounding your tree’s roots can help retain moisture and promote growth. 

After establishing a watering routine, consider using an environmentally-friendly fertilizer (no urea or other fast fertilizers), which promotes growth and provides nutrients. Keeping pests away with targeted management techniques can also greatly benefit your tree as it recovers. 

  • Do Regular Health Checkups

To make sure that your tree’s condition improves rather than declines, do regular health checkups. These include sight checks, such as monitoring the appearance of tree leaves and branches.

Also, check how deeply the moisture in the soil penetrates. Sometimes soil may feel wet on the surface but deeper down it is dry. That means water hasn’t reached an entire part of the root system. 

Manually check after watering to make sure the soil at least one foot deep is wet. If you notice that the water has not fully penetrated the soil, poke holes that are 24 inches deep. Fill them with sand so that the water can reach the roots more easily. 

Do You Need Professional Help Treating or Removing Your Tree?

Though we have explained how to save a dying tree from lack of water, sometimes these methods are ineffective. If you need more help from a professional arborist in Phoenix, AZ, contact Tree Workers of Phoenix. We can assess your tree’s problem and either treat or remove it. 

Call us at (602) 320-2797 to schedule an appointment or request a free estimate online. If you would like to learn more about tree trimming and pruning and other common arboreal topics, check out our blog. 


Tree Workers of Phoenix has been in business since 1994 and is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and International Society of
Arboriculture (ISA).


18402 N. 19th Ave. #115

Phoenix, AZ 85023

Phone: 602-320-2797

Email :

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Monday - Sunday : 9:00am-5:00pm


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