Tree Watering Tips from a Tree Service in Waltham, MA

June 14, 2018

If the weather in your area is dry for any significant period of time, you need to take it upon yourself to water trees you’ve planted for landscaping purposes. The amount of water a tree needs depends on a variety of factors, including its age, its species, the time of year, the weather you’ve had and the soil type in which it’s planted. But as a general rule, new, young trees require more water than older, well-established trees.

Here are some general rules about tree irrigation to keep in mind, courtesy of a tree service in Waltham, MA.

Newly planted trees

For the first few months after you plant a tree, most of its roots will stay within that same original root ball, with a few starting to meander out. Both the root ball and the surrounding soil need to be kept moist to encourage those roots to grow. After a few months, you’ll want to expand the watering zone to cover the entire canopy area. It might take at least a couple growing seasons for your tree to establish itself, so in those early years you need to have supplemental waterings if you don’t have regular soaking rains. In particularly hot, dry weather, those trees might need to be watered three times a week to prevent the root ball from drying.

Established trees

An established tree’s roots will typically extend far beyond the canopy or drip line. Some anchor roots might reach deep down, but most will stay within the top foot to foot and a half of the soil. When you water an established tree, you should do so deeply, soaking the whole area beneath the canopy and past the drip line. Aim to moisten the soil to a depth of 10” with each watering. Make sure you don’t apply water directly around the trunk, or else you could develop rot problems.

Watering information

The best way to check the moisture of the soil is to take a long screwdriver and poke it down into the soil. It should easily pass through moist soil, but will be difficult to push into dry soil. If you have problems poking it down at least six inches, you need to water.

Overhead sprinklers are great for covering large areas, but they also are more prone to evaporation. Instead, you should use watering methods that apply water slowly a period of over several hours.

Soaker hoses are a great way to water trees because they release water slowly. Circle a tree with such a hose and let it run for at least an hour. Using the “bubbler” or “soaker” setting on a hose-end device is also a great way to reduce the velocity of the water to ensure that water soaks in rather than running off. You’ll need to move the bubbler around to make sure the whole area gets soaked.

Finally, avoid watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. so you can conserve water.

For more information about watering trees, contact our tree service in Waltham, MA.

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