Are you the owner of a new tree (planted in the last four years or so)? Help your tree not only survive, but flourish, by watering it regularly.  New trees need at least 15 gallons of water once a week (20 is better).  Watering slowly and deeply is the goal.  An easy way to measure 15 gallons is to get a used 5-gallon bucket (joint compound buckets, for example).  Hammer or drill several large nail holes in the bottom, place it in the tree pit next to the tree, fill the bucket with water, and let it slowly drain. Move and fill the bucket 2 more times. You can also purchase a treegator (green plastic bags, or if watering with an exterior hose, be sure to let the water dribble slowly to avoid run-off.  Unless there has been a steady rain for several hours, you should water once a week.

Mulching your tree not only keeps down weeds, but also helps retain moisture.  Just don’t create a mulch “volcano” mound.  Put down a 2″-3″ layer of mulch, but keep it a few inches away from the trunk of the tree (bark needs to be exposed to the air).