The Importance of Watering During Drought

All trees, even mature ones need water. Significant changes in climate patterns are affecting entire ecosystems. Our urban landscapes are not immune to these changes. In fact, trees in urban areas are more prone to drought damage and death than natural stands of trees. The best solution to help trees through a drought period is to water your trees! Trees that do not receive enough water are unable to create new growth. When this happens, root development is reduced and response to wounding is limited. As trees reach this stage, they start to shut down and become targets for diseases and insects that can kill them.

Recommended Watering Techniques
Soaker Hose
Wrap the hose around the base of the tree at least 1-2 feet from the trunk. Turn the water on in the morning when you leave for work and turn it off when you get home. Do this once a week during summer drought periods.

Hose Set To A Trickle
A trickle is more than a drip and less than a gurgle. Visually divide the area around your tree into 4 sections. Place the hose about 2-3 feet from the trunk in section one and let the water soak into the ground for about two hours, move the hose to another section until you have fully watered all four quadrants over the period of a day. Apply water once a week during summer droughts.

In-Ground Irrigation
Set your system to run an extra hour in the zones where you have trees and shrubs. This will allow the water to penetrate through the turf roots and thatch and allow more water to soak down to the roots of the trees. Be sure that the sprinkler heads are positioned so that they are not hitting the trunk of the tree.

Sprinklers are not recommended!
Sprinklers work best for watering grass, not trees. By using the recommended soaking techniques, you saturate the grass in the spot where the hose is, enabling water to move beneath the root zone of the grass and get to the tree roots where it is needed. Trees can die even when the grass is green, because grass is the better competitor for water.

With hose set to a slow trickle, water all four areas around the tree marked with an X.
Drought stressed tree.