Water Your Trees

Trees need water to thrive and watering your trees can be very simple or rather complex depending on your trees, the property, and existing irrigation systems you have.  

With irrigation:  
If you have irrigation in your lawn and garden you probably are under the assumption that your trees are watered through your irrigation system.  This may be correct but more often than not the trees do not get watering from a standard irrigation system unless you have specific zones and settings for trees.  So let me explain why.  Your irrigation is actually set up for watering of grass and flowers.  Your grass and specifically flowers require smaller amounts of watering on a daily or bi-daily basis to keep the blooms on the flowers fresh and the grass green.   This watering is usually done for 20 minutes per zone and only penetrates into the soil to a limited depth of a few inches.  Your lawn and flowers have very shallow root systems and this allows them to enjoy and uptake the water in the upper portion of the soil where their roots are present.  Therefore 20 min of water every day keeps that upper few inches of soil moist, grass green, and the flowers beautiful.  Unfortunately the water is not getting into the soil very deep and is not allowing the deeper root system of your trees or shrubs to uptake the water from your irrigation system.  The roots of trees and shrubs are simply too deep and can not compete with the roots of the lawn or garden.   This is ok if mother nature allows for deep heavy rain every week, but unfortunately we do not see rain very consistently any longer and we experience long periods of drought.  So what do you do?  You have two options.  Option one is to have your irrigation company set up drip lines under the mature trees and shrubs and set up a zone that waters more thoroughly once a  week when rain is not adequate.  This can be expensive and difficult to accommodate in some gardens but can be accomplished and make the watering of the property simple and seamless.   Option two is to water by hand or set up a simple soaker hose system under your trees that you can hook up to in times of drought or heat stress.  This is simple and effective but will require you to watch the weather and spend time watering or moving around the hose to each soaker system in place.   Regardless the more often you can get long waterings under your trees when the rain is not reliable the healthier your trees can become.   
Without irrigation: 
If you do not have an irrigation system and spend time in your garden enjoying the space.  You probably spend some time watering everything to keep it looking great.  You can add a simple drip line system under your trees and water them for long periods infrequently.  Or water them by laying a hose at the base and allow it to trickle water slowly for long a period.  Watering for long periods will let the water penetrate deep into the soil and really benefit your trees and shrubs.  Be sure that you are not watering too much so when you water your trees you need to ensure you're not adding more additional water to the flowers and lawn.  Do not water your trees heavily more than weekly or when you have had heavy rainfall. 
Over Watering Kills. 
It is very easy to understand when you are overwatering, walk out on the lawn and it is always sloppy wet or sloshy you are overwatering.  You need to understand that soil has pore space to hold water and oxygen.  If your soil is completely saturated with water it will have no pore space for oxygen and the roots will rot.  You want your soil to be moist not wet, and if your soil is wet that is ok as long as you allow time for it to dry out a little.  If you can pick up a hand full of soil and make a fist and the soil stays in a ball it is too wet.  Wet soil is ok for short periods of time but not for long durations.  The most complex aspect is that if you are overwatering your trees, shrubs, or plants they will have signs and symptoms of underwatering as the plant will brown on the margins of your trees and shrubs.  This is simply because the tree or plant cannot uptake the water due to a lack of oxygen.  The best way to indicate this is to read the soil not the plant.  Reading the plant will possibly lead you to add more watering or what we call killing with kindness.  If you have any questions or require some help with your tree and gardens watering needs please feel free to call or email our expert staff. 
Thank you.   


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