Trees Don't Drink Through Straws.
Did you know that the WORST way you can water a tree is to lay out a hose on a trickle? Doing it this way creates a small wet zone, but the tree's roots stay mostly dry! In addition, most homeowners don't measure the amount of water they're giving their trees this way.
When is Enough ENOUGH?
Trees need about an inch of water, delivered over their entire root zone, weekly. Use a sprinkler rather than a hose to distribute the water broadly around the roots. Place a container under the tree: any type of container will work, a cup or a jar is great. When one inch of water has accumulated in the container, you've given your tree enough of a drink.
How Big is the Root Zone?
As we said earlier, one of the mistakes tree owners make is not watering ALL of the root zone. In order to be sure that you're giving the entire tree a drink, you need to do a little math. But don't worry; it's easy math! All you need to know is the approximate diameter (or cross-section) of your tree. Once you've estimated that, multiply each inch of diameter by 10. This will give you the root zone of your tree: the area that needs to be watered.
What About Rain?
If your house gets a lot of rain, you can subtract that from your weekly watering, but if you only get a little, don't worry about it. Most landscape trees will appreciate a little extra once in awhile!
Since most people don't understand about irrigation, we've created a new publication that gives a few more specifics about this topic along with some tips. You can download it HERE.
Jeff Ling is a Registered Consulting Arborist and Co-Founder of TreeMasters, Inc., a full service arbor-care company, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. TreeMasters provides tree owners with scientific tree management services throughout Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio.