Everywhere in the world, weather patterns are changing – and it is especially true in Michigan that we are going to have to change the way we take care of our yards. One of the problems that you may have noticed over the last few years is that your gardens are drying out faster than ever. You can really see it in your flowers and shrubs, but it is impacting your trees as well. While they may not show it right away, they are feeling it.
So how can you ensure that your trees are getting the water and nutrients that they need to thrive? One thing you can do is set up a watering schedule that doesn’t depend on the weather. Instead, you can use tools to ensure that your trees stay watered.
Here are some of our favorite options to do just that:
Option 1: Hoses
- Inexpensive option
- You can control exactly where the water goes
- You need to have an outdoor water hookup (preferably)
One of the most obvious ways to water your trees is to use a traditional hose – you know the kind, as you probably took a drink or two out of it as a child. These hoses are the simplest way to water your trees and they work really well.
The Arbor Day blog suggests using 10 gallons of water for each inch of the tree’s diameter when you water, so you may want to make yourself a handy little chart. Then, fill up a gallon of water and see how long it takes. That should give you a pretty good baseline to see how long you have to hold the hose around each tree. Now, if you have clusters of trees on your property, you can cut back a little bit.
When watering, make sure to move the hose around the base of the tree – don’t keep it in one place or you won’t get an even soaking.
Option 2: Soaker Hose
If you want to get a little more effective in your watering, a soaker hose is a great option. Many tree care professionals will tell you that “low and slow” is the best way to water so that you don’t overwhelm the soil and create a bunch of runoff. You can connect this to your outdoor water hookup and the soaker will do all of the work. You can also connect it to rain barrels or a tank that you connect to the soaker. Do some research before you buy your soaker to see which one will work for your trees and yard.
For new trees that were just planted, the Gardening Channel suggests only using a soaker hose because of how often you will need to water: “The root ball can dry out rapidly so be sure to soak the soil at the base of the tree regularly for the first few months after transplanting. If you notice that your trees are showing signs of water stress don’t wait! Get water to that tree.”
Option 3: Sprinkler
- Good for large clusters of trees or big gardens
- Tends to use more water
- May not be able to use these in times of drought
Another option for watering is a traditional sprinkler. You can either have automatic sprinklers that go off at specific times, or you can have more primitive sprinklers that operate manually. Whatever your choice, you do have to be careful when you use sprinklers. They tend to create a lot of wasted water if you are just trying to water around a specific tree or trunk. However, if you have a lush garden in your yard, a sprinkler is a great choice.
Sprinklers can also be a good choice in the winter when you don’t want pools of water, according to the University of Nebraska.
If you want to use a sprinkler but only have a few trees, consider asking your children or grandchildren to come over and play in the spray. They will have fun and you’ll get your trees watered.
Option 4: Mother Nature
- Monitor rainfall by checking online or making your own system
- You may need to supplement with other options
- Be sure to look at the soil
Many people rely on Mother Nature to water their trees, and it hasn’t failed most of them. However, if you want your trees to really thrive, it shouldn’t be the only option. Especially in the summer months when we may not get rain for a long time or in the winter when the soil freezes.
The best thing to do is to monitor rainfall. You can check online or you can create a measuring system on your own. This should tell you how hydrated your soil will be and if you need to water.
Water Use It Wisely suggests learning how deep your tree’s roots go to see if rainfall will impact your trees.
Option 5: Bucket
- Good if you do not have a water connection outside of your home
- You can use recycled water
- Isn’t as precise as the other methods mentioned above
If you do not have a water hookup outside of your home, watering your trees gets to be a bit trickier. Love Your Landscape suggests using a bucket that you can carry from your kitchen. However, you can also use a bucket that has been collecting rainwater to help conserve water usage. Just make sure the bucket isn’t sitting under anything that might cause chemicals to leach into the water.
While this method will take more time (and probably cause you to grow some pretty big muscles), it is an effective way to water if you don’t have any other options. The most important thing is that you get some hydration to the roots of the tree.
If you believe that you have a problem with the trees in your yard, give us a call today at (269) 216-6811. We’d love to chat about how we can help you. There is no job too big or too small – contact our professionals today!
Header photo courtesy of Tony Alter on Flickr!