Commentary: Don’t forget to water your trees

By Anne Raver
Posted 7/14/22

Warren’s trees got plenty of water this spring, thanks to all the rain. But lately, we have had very little rain, and with July temperatures, trees are transpiring more in the heat.When it …

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Commentary: Don’t forget to water your trees

Posted

Warren’s trees got plenty of water this spring, thanks to all the rain. But lately, we have had very little rain, and with July temperatures, trees are transpiring more in the heat.

When it hasn’t rained for a week or so – little cooling showers don’t count – I start watering my recently planted trees. These young trees don’t have the extensive roots systems of the old trees in our yard, which can survive weeks without rain.

I also water our two trees along the street. The DPW does a good job planting them, but they don’t have the time or labor to water.

If we’re lucky enough to get a good rain – that means an inch of rain falling on Warren – trees have enough water for a week. Otherwise, I start watering. People often wonder how much is enough.

A rule of thumb is to provide 10 gallons of water per week for a one-inch caliper tree (meaning the trunk is one inch in diameter). If your new tree is a two-inch caliper, or two inches in diameter, it needs about 20 gallons of water a week.

It’s best to water slowly and deeply, once a week, which encourages roots to grow deeper, about 12 inches down.

An easy way to provide slow, deep watering, is to drill several one-eighth-inch holes in a five-gallon bucket, place it about two feet from the tree trunk, and fill with water. I use two perforated buckets on either side of the tree, to provide 10 gallons of water a week, for a one-inch caliper tree. For a two-inch caliper tree, I just refill the two buckets, once they are empty, which gives that tree 20 gallons of water.

Some people just use a soaker hose, or set their hose on trickle. Or they buy a Treegator slow-release watering bag. Or they just carry a bucket of water out to their tree and let it seep in very slowly in the early morning or evening.

Remember the trees, please. They clean and cool the air. Their roots absorb flood waters. They are beautiful.

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