Trees and shrubs need water to survive so irrigation should be simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Everyone knows not getting enough water is damaging, but so is too much water. August is one of the hottest months of the year, a critical time before trees lose their leaves in preparation for winter. Providing the right amount of water at the right time can help trees thrive through this important transition. Here are some tips.
• Watering is best during the night, between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. The second best time is in the later afternoon when temperatures are lower and foliage can dry before sunset.
• Irrigate newly planted trees and shrubs twice per week and established trees weekly. Adjust as needed based on the amount of rainfall, the species and its level of drought tolerance.
• Do not apply water directly to the trunk. Instead, irrigate the root zone deeply.
• Mulch greatly reduces water loss. A layer of organic mulch, placed from just off the trunk to the outer dripline, can dramatically help improve the root environment.
• Consider fertilization in autumn to aid in recovery from dry weather and foster healthy growth next spring.