Urban Tree Care During a Drought
All trees need water to survive. Each species requires a specific amount and frequency for optimal health; however, location, environmental conditions, and weather directly impact these needs. For this reason, drought can be especially dangerous for urban trees outside the natural forest setting, making meticulous tree care during a drought essential. How can you keep your commercial landscape’s trees looking their best?
Maximize Irrigation, Mimic the Natural Forest Setting with Mulch
Trees need about an inch of rain per week. This isn’t much. Fortunately, in nature, trees can make this small bit of water last thanks to leaf litter and organic matter on the forest floor. This surface, dubbed the duff layer, retains water, enriching the soil as it breaks down. There is no duff layer in the urban forest, but you can mimic it with natural mulch. Surrounding your trees with mulch dramatically impacts soil drainage, helping your commercial landscape retain moisture. It also provides temperature protection for roots, and like the duff, breaks down and enriches the soil surrounding your trees.
Ensure Effective, Waterwise Irrigation
Proper watering begins with slow, soaking forms of irrigation that target tree roots like drip irrigation, matched precipitation rate rotating sprinklers, and deep root watering. Targeting past the trunk of older, established trees, whose roots stretch far beyond, is essential. To ensure adequate irrigation for the root network, spiral watering out to the perimeter of branches. Water slowly for about 15 minutes when water restrictions allow. Place a small bowl near your sprinkler to monitor the water amount. Remember, with adequate mulch and healthy soil, you only need an inch.
Water Young and Newly Established Trees More Frequently
Just as human babies need more care and attention than their adult counterparts, so do young and newly established trees. When crafting a tree management plan during times of drought, keep in mind young and recently established trees require daily watering near the trunk during the first week or two after planting. Two to three months after that, watering every few days is best, tapering off to weekly watering. Less water is required as trees establish a larger root network in which to store it.
Time the Insect or Disease Control Treatments for Trees Carefully
Your watering regimen can dramatically impact insect and disease treatment. Providing sufficient water and soil nutrients shores up plant wellness. However, when the attack is severe, hybrid care, such as trunk injections, may be necessary to save trees. We take care to strategically plan treatment outside periods of drought for this application. This timing ensures the availability of plentiful water for root uptake and transport of treatment materials throughout the tree, ensuring effective pest or disease management.
Maintain healthy, beautiful trees despite climate extremes. Manage urban tree care during a drought with ease with help from Arborwell Professional Tree Management. Contact your local Arborwell branch to schedule an arborist consultation today in:
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Diego