Water is a precious resource, keeping our bodies healthy, and our vegetation thriving. Most environmentally conscious and responsible homeowners want to know the best ways to save water while ensuring that their trees are healthy and well irrigated. In St. Louis we can experience mild or regular drought conditions, knowing exactly how to water your trees at the different stages of life, or what sort of tactics can be used to effectively water your trees, will help you preserve the most important resource of them all.
How to Water New Trees
Freshly planted trees have a root system that is still located within the original root ball. These trees should be watered to encourage the roots to develop and start to grow outside the root ball. Irrigation experts suggest watering the soil under the canopy, ensuring that the surrounding soil and root ball are hydrated enough to support its growth, without wasting water.
How to Water Established Trees
During the late spring and early summer months, trees are going through their growing season. Established trees require watering less frequently, using a specific technique to water the tree itself. As the root system in established trees is wide reaching around the trunk, water should be applied in a circular motion around the dripline.
The dripline is the area surrounding the outer reaches of a tree’s canopy. Ensure that you’re watering several feet around this dripline to make sure that the roots have access to the water they need. This technique also helps to save water through only watering the tree where it will have the largest benefits.
It’s also important to keep in mind that over-watering, like under-watering, can take a real toll on the health of your tree. See our article on overwatering trees for signs of over-watering.
Use Mulch to Preserve Water
One of the simplest and most effective methods of saving water during the summer months is mulching. Lucky for home and property owners, mulching also keeps the weeds away and creates an attractive landscape.
There are important tips to take into consideration when mulching to save as much water as possible, while creating a beautiful yard:
Choose only the best mulch. In many cases, the best mulch is organic, such as pine needles. Organic mulch is able to break down, adding nutrients and conditioning the soil as it does so. Non-organic mulches may look beautiful, but since they cannot break down, they remain on the surface of your soil and block both air and water from reaching tree roots, meaning more water will have to be used to keep your trees thriving and healthy.
Prepare the area surrounding your trees. Before you add mulch to the tree bases, ensure that you’re removing weeds around the trunk. This prevents them from growing in later in the season, while making sure that the weeds aren’t removing precious water that is meant for the tree roots.
Apply mulch correctly. When you’re applying the mulch, make sure that the layer is two to 3 inches thick, and is evenly spread. This amount of mulch keeps excess water from evaporating, ensuring that your trees are receiving as much water as possible.
Make your mulch similar to naturally occurring mulch. This means that you want to try and mimic mulch that is apparent in the wild. The entire drip zone of the tree, or the span of its canopy, should be covered with mulch to benefit the tree.
Our team at Jackson Tree Service realizes just how important water is to a healthy tree and a healthy planet. For over 50 years, we’ve been providing home and property owners with water-saving tips and tricks, benefitting trees and landscapes in St. Louis, MO and the surrounding area. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today!
To continue to be responsible homeowners and save water we found this great list of tips for water conservation from the St. Louis Water Divison.