Tree Watering Tips

Uploaded by TexasForestService on 02.09.2011

Texas is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recorded state history, and it’s
creating disastrous results for trees across the state.
Some trees are dropping their leaves and branches. Others have leaves that are wilting and turning
yellow or brown. Some trees have even died. It’s hard to say for sure just how many
trees we may lose before the drought breaks. It may be next spring before we know whether
some of our dormant trees will make a comeback.

As hot and dry as its been there’s no doubt,
if you have a tree in your yard it’s under drought stress. The most important thing you
can do right now is to water your tree 6 to 8 inches deep every week. We’ve developed
a simple way for you to know when it’s time to water. Whether you’re using a sprinkler,
a garden hose or a soaker hose. All you’ll need is a screwdriver.
Let’s get started. Before you water you want to see if the soil is dry. You can do
this easily with a long screwdriver. Simply try and push it into the ground. If the ground
is dry, you won’t be able to, and if it’s wet you will. If you can’t get the screwdriver
to go in easily at least 6 to 8 inches into the ground it’s time to water.
If you’re watering with a garden hose, turn the faucet up as high as you can, until the
water flows off the surface–then lower the flow until it all stays where you put it.
You want to be sure that the ground is absorbing all the water.
Conduct your screwdriver test about every 30 minutes until it goes down at least 6 to
8 inches into the ground. Once it does, move the hose and repeat the process.
Tree roots extend out horizontally from the trunk of the tree, so you want to make sure
you water the entire area under the tree’s canopy.
Another option for watering your trees is a soaker hose. These allow for slow watering
and work best with small to medium size trees. Don’t forget to do your screwdriver test
first. If it shows that you need to water, encircle your tree with a soaker hose and
turn on the faucet. Most soaker hoses take about four hours to
put out just an inch of water – and you will need to put out an inch or two of water
a week in a drought. So after four hours, test the ground with
your screwdriver again to see if your tree’s got the water it needs and if it doesn’t
water some more.
The last way to water your trees is with a sprinkler. This is probably the fastest method.
Once again, you’re going to start with your screwdriver test. If the ground is dry, set
the sprinkler near your tree and let it run until you’ve put about an inch of water
on the ground.
How much is an inch? There’s an easy way to find out. Just put a tuna or cat food can
next to your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill it up. The average sprinkler
puts out about an inch of water every 30 minutes, but this test should give you a better idea
for your particular equipment. Once you know how long it takes to put out
an inch of water, just set your timer and move your sprinkler to a new position every
time it goes off. Don’t forget to use your screwdriver to
make sure you’re watering deeply enough.
A quick and easy way to water a new tree is with a five gallon bucket. Just drill a couple
of small holes in the bottom, set it next to your small tree, fill it up and let it
slowly flow out.
We all know trees are important. They boost your property values. They shade your house,
which reduces your electricity bill. They help clean the air you breathe and the water
you drink. Now take a minute to imagine this world without
them. This drought has been relentless and its effects,
unprecedented. The most important thing you can do for your trees right now, is to water
them every week. It’s a small price to pay – literally just pennies per gallon – for
all the benefits they provide.