Will an Overwatered Tree Recover?

Will an overwatered tree recover? The answer depends on how quickly you act. In this post, Tree Workers of Phoenix, your certified arborist services in Phoenix, explains more about avoiding overwatering and how to repair the damage.

What Happens When a Tree Is Overwatered?

If water remains for an extended period of time, the soil around the tree can become waterlogged as the air pockets fill up. If this happens, the roots suffocate, and the tree can’t get enough oxygen. The leaves begin drooping and discoloring, and the plant dies. 

You have a chance of saving any tree species if you act quickly. This is especially critical with newly planted trees, or they won’t develop strong root systems. 

Signs of Overwatering

The most important sign of overwatering is soggy or wet soil. Other signs include wilting and yellow leaves, which, ironically, are also a sign of too little water. If you’re unsure, check the soil about two inches down. 

How to Rectify This Issue

If the topsoil is spongy and wet, stop watering immediately. You also need to allow the soil to dry out. Here’s how: 

  • Reduce the water supply by removing the hose or irrigation system. If it’s raining a lot, consider covering the dripline with a waterproof tarpaulin. Finally, remove the mulch to give the soil a chance to breathe. 
  • Relocate the tree if there’s bad drainage in that spot. If the ground is full of clay, for example, your tree will do better elsewhere. 
  • Aerate the roots to allow more oxygen into the waterlogged ground. You can also dig over the soil or dig in compost to further improve aeration and drainage. 
  • Identify if the problem is rainwater or groundwater. If there’s an underground stream, for example, you’ll need to relocate the tree. There’s not much you can do about rainwater except to plant indigenous trees that are better able to tolerate the local conditions. 

How to Avoid Overwatering

What’s the best way to avoid having to ask, “Will an overwatered tree recover?” Your best solution is to proactively prevent overwatering. Here’s how to do this: 

  • When planting your tree, make sure that you use the right container or hole in the ground. If you’re using a pot, make sure there are enough drainage holes before putting gravel or stone in the bottom of the hole or the pot for better drainage. 
  • Choose the right soil rather than whatever you have at hand. Whether you’re planting the tree in the garden or a container, adding good-quality potting soil will give it a great start and ensure good drainage. 
  • With older trees, aerating the soil and digging in organic compost every few years can reverse compaction that might cause issues. 
  • Give your trees a deep watering less often rather than a quick spritz regularly. 
  • Only ever water your trees if they need it. Perform a soil test before each watering instead of relying on a set number of days between each. Use drip irrigation or water early so the water doesn’t evaporate as much. 

You will generally need to water trees once a week or so when they’re establishing their root systems. This is usually only necessary until they establish a strong root system. Other than that, you may also need to water them once or twice a week during a hot Phoenix summer. 

Call Our Team 

If you need professional advice on, “Will an overwatered tree recover?” or have the opposite problem of saving underwatered trees, call Tree Workers of Phoenix. Our expert arborists will give you the right advice, so call us at (602) 320-2797.


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 : rickthetreeexpert@gmail.com

Hours of Operation :

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


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