The dry summer we’re having is taking its toll on grass, trees and other green things.Water is a critical requirement for all plants, and they need a lot of it. Pulling water in from the soil is how plants are able to obtain the nutrients they need to grow, which is dissolved and suspended in soil water. Each day they take in a great deal of water through their roots, sift out the nutrients, and then release it through their leaves using a process called transpiration. Forests, being made up of a lot of really big plants standing shoulder to shoulder, accounts for some of the high humidity we experience each summer through this process. A mature maple tree can take up enough water to fill three bathtubs per day.
Water is especially important for newly planted trees, as balled or potted trees often have minimal roots, and so dry weather is especially stressful. For already established trees, getting enough water keeps them healthy and better able to fend off insect and disease problems. It will also keep their growth rate high, and that means value. Big trees in a landscape can add a lot of value to a home, so keep them cranking with water when needed.
It’s best to water slowly so the feeder roots can take up the moisture as it’s provided. That way the tree gets all the water and none is wasted from runoff. For big trees the simplest way to water is to drag the hose out to the tree, turn it on to a slow drip, and leave it for a few hours or overnight. A drip hose on the end that oozes water out slowly wouldn’t be a bad idea, that way you can coil it around under the tree and get more coverage. Move the hose to a different tree every night, and keep at it until you water all of the trees, or until the rain comes. For small trees a 5 gallon bucket with a nail hole in the bottom should suffice for drip irrigation.