Posted on: 31 May 2019
Most people spend a lot of time worrying about their lawn grass, particularly when it comes to installing sprinkler systems and working out irrigation schedules. Yet, these same people often forget that their landscape trees and shrubs also require watering. This is especially true for trees that aren't growing directly in the lawn, since they may not be exposed to the water from the lawn sprinkler system. The following guide can help you make sure your trees get enough water.
Establish young trees properly
The most important period to water trees and shrubs is in the first summer after planting. Newly planted trees put on a ton of growth that first season as they send out new roots to become established. Drought during this period can permanently weaken the tree. A simple way to make sure the tree is getting sufficient water is to build up a 4-inch tall ring of soil around the trunk, making it about 30 inches in diameter. Pour enough water into the ring to fill it to the top and let it slowly seep in. Repeat this every 10 days or so, or when the top 6 inches of soil feels dry. The ring will dissolve and level out by the following spring, by which point the tree won't need as much watering.
Repair and align sprinkler heads
Trees growing in lawn areas have the benefit of getting moisture from the sprinkler system, but they can also be damaged by the sprinklers. Sprinklers that are out of alignment or aligned improperly can spray across the trunk. Over time, this will wear down the bark and cause damage to the tree. It can also increase the chances of fungal or bacterial growth, which can lead to disease. A sprinkler repair service can realign the heads to avoid this problem. You may also need to replace the high-pressure, high-arcing rotary sprinkler heads with the lower-pressure, low-spraying, fan-style spray heads.
Use mulch in islands and beds
Mulch is vital for tree and shrub plantings that don't have a carpet of grass over their roots. Bare soil invites weeds, and it also allows moisture to quickly evaporate out of the ground. This can lead to drought stress quickly during hot, sunny, dry weather. A 3-inch layer of mulch over the bare soil solves this problem. You can use bark, wood chips, or even rock mulch around trees and shrubs. Just make sure that the mulch doesn't actually touch the trunk, regardless of material, as this can cause the bark and the wood underneath to rot. If you use wood chips or another organic mulch, be prepared to replace it yearly since it will decompose.
Irrigating trees, especially varieties that need moist soil, will keep them healthy. The key is to water infrequently but to wet the soil deeply so the roots grow deep and strong as they follow the moisture. You also want to avoid spraying water against the trunk or into the canopy, as mentioned previously. Bubblers are the best option, especially in beds with shrubs and small tree varieties. These pop-up heads don't spray water; instead, the water bubbles out of the emitter and soaks right into the soil and down to the roots. Have your trees put into a single zone for your automatic system and set it to water once every week to 10 days so you don't have to worry about it.
For more help, contact a tree service or a sprinkler installation company, such as Noble Tree Service Inc.Share