Watering Trees and Shrubs during Drought conditions:

Published on May 13, 2018   trees shrubs watering trees watering shrubs drought conditions Parkland Tree Care consultation pruning shrub pruning trees

With the continuing drought conditions, it is important to remember your trees and shrubs.  Newly planted (within the last few years) trees and shrubs should be watered on a weekly regime if the dry conditions persist.  At this point soil conditions are so dry we need a good soaking rain.  The question that is always asked is:  How much should I water?  I would suggest checking the soil by hand as follows:   

  • Grab some soil in one hand.  Does it feel damp and can you make a ball by squeezing the soil in your fist and does the ball hold together when you release it?  If this is so, then the amount of water in the soil is adequate. 
  • If the soil is loose and the ball of soil falls apart immediately after making a fist, then your soil is very dry and needs more water.
  • If water drips out of the ball of soil when you squeeze it, then you have a saturated soil and you should not water it anymore.
  • Use a spade to loosen the soil 6-8 inches deep and see how loose the soil is at a deeper level.  Repeat the above procedure if you are unsure of soil moisture at this deeper soil level. 

Try this test before starting to water and then again 3-4 days later and see if the watering has made a difference. 

Trees and shrubs growing in an area where there is an organic mulch on the soil surface are better able to weather a period of drought conditions because the mulch slows the evaporation of soil moisture. 

Rock mulches are not so kind to trees and shrubs as they heat up and cool down rapidly with air temperature.  These rock mulches can increase the affects of the drought conditions on the trees and shrubs growing in them.  Most often these rock ground covers use landscape fabric below the rock and above the soil which acts to slow the percolation of watering down into the soil.  Areas with rock ground cover require increased watering to avoid a soil water deficit.  

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Decay, disease, storm damage and age all harm the trees we cherish. Luckily, there are steps we can take to prolong their lives like pruning, cabling and bracing and training. Jobs like these — and other dangerous jobs like removals and pruning—are best left to the experienced arborists at Parkland Tree Care. We have the necessary tools, equipment and knowledge to safely care for your trees and shrubs.

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