The rules of tree work are in no specific order; the basics are vital for the health and livelihood of your trees. However, there are common misconceptions with some of these tasks including watering. It’s important to understand what these common errors are and why they should be avoided when caring for your landscape.
If you have had the chance to see a tree before it is placed into the ground or after it has been uprooted, you may have noticed the structure of the root system. Much like how a tree’s limbs are larger toward the trunk and decrease in size further out from the trunk, the trees roots are similar in their structure. When you water a tree, the water is absorbed through the end or “hair roots” of the tree.
The large roots near the trunk of the tree don’t absorb water as efficiently, which is why it’s best to water the tree on the inner and outer edges of the tree’s drip line, or canopy. Since a tree’s roots typically extend out to the drip line, this is the best way to reach the “hair roots” of the tree. Watering the trunk of a tree is an ineffective way to get water to the internal system of the tree. It may also lead to decay and fungus which will cause a decline in the tree’s health, leading to the death of the tree.
Three other common mistakes in tree watering include:
Even with an understanding that the trunk shouldn’t be watered directly, some may want to water the entire root system. As long as the ends of the roots are receiving sufficient watering, the tree will receive the water it needs.
Low levels of rain don’t only affect your grass and small plantings, it also affects your trees. Trees are large, living things and need to receive adequate water to maintain their health. Even if there has been rainfall, it may not be enough to meet the needs of your tree.
Watering your tree is a necessity but overwatering your tree can be possible. A good rule of thumb is to wait four to five days after the soil is dry to water your trees. The frequency of watering will vary depending on the rainfall and season, so use your best judgment.