Keep ‘em Green—How to Water Trees in the Heat wallacegardencenter

Keep ‘em Green—How to Water Trees in the Heat

Save the trees! Try these watering tips to help your trees get through extreme heat.

Get your sunglasses on and stay hydrated! When the extreme heat is shining down, it’s more important than ever to learn some watering tips for your trees. Read our guide for ways to water properly to keep your trees looking and feeling their best.

Deep Watering 101

One of the most important takeaways from these extreme heat watering tips is to water your trees deeply. Deep watering is much more effective than shallow, frequent watering. Use a formula of approximately two gallons of water per inch of tree diameter to guide your watering efforts. This strategy is a good rule of thumb when approaching watering your trees in extreme heat. Also, be aware that you can water beyond the trunk of the tree, where the underground roots grow out and away. Look up to the canopy for a hint about how wide the roots may be; the best guide is to follow the canopy drip line (where rainwater drips off the outer edges of the canopy).

Get the Timing Right

While you have a watering schedule that you have been following throughout the season, you may want to throw that out the window when it comes to extreme heat. Avoid watering mid-day, when temperatures peak. Water deeply in the early morning or after dusk—especially for young trees.

woman watering young tree

Watering New Trees

As mentioned, your precious baby trees will need a little extra TLC while they are growing up. They are very thirsty, and that thirst will run rampant during the intensely hot summer months. Their roots can get shocked from the abrupt change from their cozy nursery to your hot yard. It may sound like a lot, but for the first season, you should let your hose run on a low trickle for 30 minutes to 1 hour; you do this once or twice per week, depending on weather and soil conditions.

May Your Aim Be True

Making sure the water gets directly into the soil is key. Spilling water onto the foliage and flowers of any plant can lead to burns, mold, and can be an invitation for pests and fungus to join the party. If you’re watering from a hose, set the hose down near the base of the tree and let the taps run on a low stream. If you’re using a watering can or something similar, take your time to avoid splashing the leaves. Or even better, invest in a soaker hose; they are terrific watering tools for trees!

mulched base of tree

Save Money and Water With Mulch

Mulching your trees is like the couponing of plant care. Taking the time to put down a layer of mulch around the base can help regulate the distribution of water. Long story short: mulching makes sense! The mulch absorbs and releases the water over time, which means you can water and worry less.

When Should You Stop Watering Trees?

You can continue to water your trees up until they become dormant. When it begins to drop leaves, it’s time for the tree to switch into rest mode. When it starts to go dormant for winter, you can stop watering it. Give it one last deep watering before the ground freezes for the first time. This last deep soak will help give the tree a stronger chance of withstanding the brutality of the winter cold and high winds.

sprinkler watering grass and tree

Watering Woes

Sometimes, we forget that trees need our help. The cost of not properly watering our trees in extreme heat is high. Look out for these signs that it needs more water and a little boost:

Leaves Falling Early: If your tree is dropping lots of leaves in the middle of summer, or it’s looking autumnal in July, it’s a sign that it desperately needs water. This is referred to as “transitioning early” because it’s essentially going into a dormant mode to preserve water, as it does in the fall to prepare for winter.

Wilting, Curling Leaves: Just like with houseplants or in your garden, wilting and curling leaves on your tree can be a sign that it’s thirsty. Give it a deep drink and those leaves should bounce back.

Leaf Size and Color: While it can be a bit harder to spot, keep an eye out for small, undeveloped leaves or leaves that are off-color. This can mean the tree doesn’t have the energy it needs to fully develop its leaves as it would under better growing conditions. Time for a drink!

If you have any questions about how to care for trees in Bettendorf, come visit us! We’d love to help you get your trees in tip-top shape.

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