When I ask what the most limiting factor is for tree health,
I often get answers like insects or diseases, the right climate, or even
compacted and poor soils. And while those are all important factors in tree
health, the most important is actually water. If a tree does not have water it
Proper watering is an essential part of caring for
trees. But how much to water and when
are critical to understand.
Here are some guidelines:
Water deeply – Water the soil, where the roots are. We recommend deep watering in the root zone, which is out from the trunk to the edge of the canopy, and getting the soil moist at least 12 inches down each time you water. For established trees, this should be done every 8 weeks during the dry season. For trees that require more water – like maples and redwoods – the frequency should be every three to four weeks. Young trees require watering more often too, but since their canopy is smaller, the area to water will be smaller.
Most importantly, avoid frequent, light watering – Trees require a very different watering schedule than turf or even most shrubs, so having a way to water trees separately can be very valuable.
When trees are not watered deeply, it often leads to
moisture or drought stress by mid-summer.
Drought stress can increase a tree’s susceptibility to certain diseases
and insects. Dry soils can cause the
death of small roots and reduce a tree’s capacity to absorb water, even after
the soil is re-moistened.
There is no way to look at the soil from above and tell how much moisture is in it. To determine how dry the soil is, you must probe the soil, either with a trowel by hand, or with a moisture meter. Hand moisture meters do help, but at Arborwell we have new state of the art wireless meters that are installed in the ground and read the moisture on a continual basis. When trees are very valuable and there is concern for their survival, then long term monitoring is the best way to track and analyze how often to water and how much to put on. These same sensors can be used for shorter duration monitoring if you are auditing the irrigation system to determine the best schedule and timing for an automatic drip or bubbler system
Don’t forget the trees on your parkway – During droughts street trees need water too.
Keep checking in the fall – Trees and shrubs, especially evergreens and newly planted trees, need ample water in their root systems as they go into winter. So continue to water as long as you can.
Water trees in containers more frequently – Because there is little soil to hold water around their roots, container plants can dry out and wilt fairly easily. If container plants are in full sun, they will likely require more frequent watering than those in shade.
Check on sensitive trees and shrubs – Drought-sensitive trees and plants that are likely to show the effects of reduced moisture include magnolias, Japanese maples, dogwoods, beeches, larches, tulip trees, redwoods and birches.
Spread mulch – A layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood mulchto insulates soil against extremes of temperature fluctuations and holds in soil moisture. Apply no more than three inches deep of mulch in a circle around trees. Do not let mulch touch the trunk.
What systems to use – On larger properties and irrigation system is a must. We recommend a drip or bubbler system. These should be checked on a regular basis for clogs and leaks. Older irrigation systems often used spray heads around trees and many sites still have them. Above ground water is far more inefficient. The proper area around the tree is usually not covered adequately by the spray and the trunk of the tree is often sprayed excessively. Most spray heads also put out too much water at one time, so the ground cannot absorb enough before it starts to run off. When it is possible, these spray systems should be converted to drip or bubbler systems. The water savings alone will offset the cost down the road.
Reclaimed water – This is an important consideration as more and more sites are being watered with reclaimed water. The drawback to this water is the high salt content of most reclaimed water. At Arborwell, we can recommend ways to reduce the salt build-up from reclaimed water. This is important because too much salt will cause problems with many trees. If your site has reclaimed water, the advanced moisture sensors we use also measure salinity. This helps us watch and act to reduce the salt build up before it affects the trees.
If you have any questions or concerns about your trees health, fill out the form below to get in contact with one of Arborwell’s certified arborists!
arborist, reclaimed water, soil, tree care, trees, water
Trees are an incredible asset to any landscape. They benefit our communities and environment by cleaning the air, providing protection from the elements and creating jobs. The next time you’re out, take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of your neighborhood’s trees.
Let’s discuss the main reasons why trees are important for landscaping. You will be surprised at how much these plants have to offer our health, wellness and environment.
Trees are Aesthetically Appealing
Trees are visually beautiful. Some have lived on our planet for thousands of years and tell stories through their branches, leaves and bark. Some families plant trees for sentimental reasons, such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one. As the tree grows, it represents that individual. Trees are alive, which adds to their beauty and tranquility.
They Provide Privacy and Sun Protection
Many homes today are built in busy neighborhoods, and the best way to create shade and privacy is by planting trees. Their structure blocks noise, light and unsightly views. Plus, their shade protects people from the sun’s rays and helps homes and businesses consume less energy. By planting trees strategically, homeowners can enjoy more private, efficient homes.
They are Natural Food Producers
Thanks to fruit-bearing trees, both humans and animals can have fresh food to eat. Some of the most popular tree-borne foods in California include apples, cherries and citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes. Even in the winter, some trees continue to produce nuts, flowers and berries for birds and other wildlife.
Trees are Homes for Animals (and Children!)
Trees provide shelter to many different animals. Birds build nests on their sturdy branches, while squirrels build dens or dreys in which to raise their young. In fact, some animals need the forest to survive, including the tree kangaroo, pandas and orangutans (although you won’t find these in our California trees!). Kids, too, love to use trees to build treehouses and forts.
Cleaner Air and Water
Trees absorb pollutants and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Perhaps that’s why deep breathing is often associated with trees and nature. Moreover, trees prevent water evaporation and decrease water runoff. These benefits work together to produce healthy water with fewer pollutants and reduce flood damage and erosion.
There is no question that trees are an essential part of human life and existence. The next time you are looking to spruce up your yard, look no further than planting a new tree! For questions or information in regards to removing, replanting or managing the trees in your landscape, contact Arborwell today at 888-969-8733 or fill out our contact form.
This time of year, it is often easy to spot an ornamental pear in the landscape because it will often have burned tips with brown leaves at the tip of branches. This is a classic symptom of a bacterial disease called fireblight. This difficult to control disease starts in the spring by small infections at the tip of a branch and moves further down the branch during the spring, killing as it goes. The result is the blackened tips that usually have a bend or crook in them, similar to a “shepherd crook”. Ornamental Pears are the most common tree in the landscape in our region that get fireblight, but apples, firethorn, crabapples and several other species are also susceptible. Click here to find out about fireblight control and how Arborwell can help prevent this on your trees.
My trees seem to be dying at the tips, what is this?
If the tips are crooked, the color is dark brown to black and the tree is in the apple family, it is probably a bacterial disease called fireblight.
How do I suppress it?
Fire blight is a bacterial disease so it behaves somewhat differently that most fungal diseases and control of it can be a little more complicated. Fall or winter preventative treatments are the most cost-effective way to suppress fireblight on susceptible trees. If your trees are already infected, we treat with an antibiotic injection as well as the preventative treatment. These two treatments together seem to be very effective.
What kinds of trees get fireblight?
Trees and shrubs in the apple family are susceptible to fireblight. This includes Apples, pears, crabapple, hawthorn, loquat, mountain ash and toyon and shrubs like firethorn and rose. Because it will spread by wind and rain from one type of plant to another, treating all the susceptible plants on your site is usually a wise idea.
How do I get rid of the dead tips, there seems to be a lot of them?
Proper pruning is really critical when you have fireblight. Pruning needs to remove all of the infected stem, so knowing how far down to make the cut is very important. Disinfecting the tools used to prune with is also important because bacterial spores from an infected tree can transport fireblight to other trees very readily. Timing of when to prune is also important. When a tree is pruned during the time fireblight is active, new infections can more easily occur. At Arborwell, we know how to make a good management plan for your ornamental pears and other susceptible trees that maintains their health and safety for years to come. Contact your Arborwell certified arborist for professional management of fireblight and all your tree needs.
Fire Blight, plant health care, trees