Record-breaking heat and extremely dry conditions have spread across the United States this summer straining lawns, gardens and trees. Learning how to irrigate trees properly helps property owners to protect their landscaping and establish deeper tree roots. Help your trees last through the heat of summer with these efficient irrigation tips.
Turf thrives on frequent watering from rain or sprinkler systems. Trees, on the other hand, prefer long bouts of water applied to the soil at less frequent intervals.
Drip Irrigation Basics
For small trees (less than 4-inches in diameter) and shrubs drip irrigation systems work well. With a perforated hose installed close to the tree root system, this tree irrigation system distributes moisture slowly through an emitter. Set at the proper frequency, drip irrigation helps trees roots to develop and makes your tree more drought resistant.
Drip irrigation requires less water than manual or automatic sprinkler systems, avoiding typical issues like evaporation and water run.
Drip irrigation cannot serve the needs of larger trees, although bubbler irrigation systems provide adequate water for even the largest specimens. Install basins around trees with a diameter larger than 4 inches, along with bubbler emitters that distribute water into the basins. Moisture soaks into the surrounding soil naturally and properly sized bubblers replenish the basins at set intervals.
Both bubblers and drip irrigation systems distribute water slowly and evenly to trees and shrubs. The right amount of water at the ideal frequency helps roots to develop and establish deeply in the soil.
Soil conditions indicate when trees need water. Two methods can be used to check soil conditions – dig out soil from 4 to 8 inches down to use the hand method; if that soil is sticky when clenched in your fist, irrigation is not needed. The prod method uses a soil moisture prod or long screwdriver to penetrate soil. Irrigation is unnecessary when the prod penetrates 18-inches or more. Anything less indicates that watering is required.
Learn how to irrigate trees properly using drip irrigation and bubblers and maintain optimum health and growth, even in dry weather.