You may think watering your trees is a job best done by Mother Nature but, if you want the trees in your landscape to stay healthy, you will need to step in from time to time. Watering your trees is an essential part of the tree care process and will better prepare your trees to fight off pests and diseases. But who has time to stand in their yard with a hose for hours? Luckily, there are tree watering systems that are easy to set up and use.
Drip irrigation is a series of pipes that allow for deep watering that is slowly released over a long period of time. This requires roughly double the amount of time to release the water but it is the most efficient system for watering trees and results in minimized runoff and evaporation. A drip irrigation system has many advantages, including its ability to be automated and adaptable, but it needs to be inspected regularly to measure its effectiveness.
Soaker hoses are often seen coiled around the base of a tree and are a popular option because of how easy they are to set up. Special pins can be purchase to keep the hose in place, and mulch is recommended to minimize evaporation. If you decide on a soaker hose, save yourself some time and invest in a hose timer.
Sprinkler systems, although less efficient than drip or hose systems, are a perfectly suitable option for tree watering. These systems can result in runoff and evaporation but their benefits include portability and water volume. Plus, they can take care of other lawn watering needs.
Tree Watering Bags
If you have a very young tree that requires frequent watering, you may want to invest in a watering bag. These bags fit around the base of the tree, since the root ball is still small, and slowly release water. These bags are best for small drip lines, where a drip, hose or sprinkler system may be overkill.
What are the watering needs of my tree?
Many factors determine the watering needs of a tree including the soil type, age and size. These factors, along with the weather (rain or drought), could require you to water your trees anywhere from twice a week to once a month. This is why it’s important to understand the needs of your trees before purchasing a watering system.
Tips for Watering Trees
- Avoid compacting the soil around the roots of a new tree, as this can interfere with the amount of oxygen it receives.
- Make sure your tree receives roughly 10 gallons of water for every inch of its trunk diameter per week. For example, if a tree has a 10 inch diameter, it would need 100 gallons of water per week.
- Use mulch to retain the moisture but do not place it too close to the trunk of the tree (as this can cause the tree to rot).
- Avoid watering during the warmest times of the day to conserve your water source (i.e., water in the early morning or late evening).
- Test the moisture of the ground around the tree by drilling into the soil. If it becomes difficult to drill more than six inches, the tree needs to be watered.
- Remember that a tree’s roots extend beyond the drip line, so be sure to water beyond the canopy of the tree.
Want to learn more tips on tree watering? You can find common misconceptions about tree watering by clicking here.