If you're like most new homeowners, you're probably looking forward to having your own outdoor living space to enjoy. Hosting backyard barbecues, growing fruits, vegetables, and culinary herbs, and being able to relax with a cool beverage under a graceful shade tree are all great reasons to purchase a home of your own. However, you may be unsure of how to take care of the trees in your yard. Tree care varies by type and the general age and overall health of the trees in question, but there are a few general rules that can make caring for trees easier. The biggest mistake most homeowners make involves incorrect watering practices. Here's what you need to know about watering your trees in summer.

Don't Irrigate Your Trees with Your Lawn Sprinklers

The biggest mistake that most homeowners make is including the root zones of their trees when they irrigate their lawns. This often results in the trees getting way too much water, which can actually be more harmful to them than not getting enough water. Too much water in the root zone area tends to compact the soil, which will ultimately make it more difficult for the roots to absorb oxygen and nitrogen. Overly damp conditions are conducive to the development of fungal pathogens, which can be debilitating to younger trees or trees that aren't in good health. In deciduous trees, the root zone generally correlates to the tips of the tree's outer branches. Coniferous trees have long, deep taproots instead of fibrous, spreading root systems.

Water Deeply and Infrequently

Some newly planted trees require deep watering once per month. Watering deeply and infrequently helps ensure the development of strong, healthy root systems, while shallow, frequent watering tends to result in shallow, weak roots—not only is this bad for the health of the tree, but a shallow root system can cause it to become physically unstable. Using a soaker hose placed in a circular pattern around the tree is the best way to water immature trees; simply holding a hose to the base of the tree will fail to deliver enough water to the tree's surrounding root zone. 

Except for during times of drought, mature deciduous trees don't need extra summer watering. Well-established coniferous trees, on the other hand, rarely require watering even during times of drought because their taproots go deep enough to access underground water sources. Keep in mind that when in doubt, it's best to consult a professional when it comes to tree care