Water is essential for a tree’s survival, but, unfortunately, rainfall often doesn’t provide enough. This makes manual watering a must. However, do this in the wrong way and they’ll still end up suffering, making it important to understand the correct way to water your garden trees.
Deep and Slow
Trees have a large and deep root zone. Sprinkle a few drops of water around your trees with a watering can and your efforts are unlikely to make much of a difference.
Instead, your trees would benefit most from a long and deep soak. You can do this manually with a garden hose (or even a bucket), or set up a drip irrigation system. This is often the preferred watering method for those who have several trees that need regular moisture. Yes, it’s slow, but the water is delivered directly to the root zone, allowing each tree to make the most of it.
Many often wonder if a sprinkler is as effective as drip irrigation. The answer is no. Sprinklers lose a lot more water through evaporation. They also increase the chances of water splashing onto foliage, which could lead to further down the line.
How Much Water Do Your Trees Need?
Overwatering is a common mistake. Many think that the more water they give to their trees, the better they’ll do, but this is definitely not the case. Too much water will end up suffocating your trees. The excess water will fill all of the air pockets in the soil, preventing those roots from being able to breathe. Not only is rot a likely outcome, but all of that stress that you’ll be putting your tree through could be fatal.
When it comes to working out how much water a tree needs, this varies hugely based on species and variety. Chances are that each tree in your garden will have different water requirements, making it important to do a little research into each one. , such as an or a , will require more water than , such as the .
Many will say that a general rule of thumb is that a tree needs about 40 litres of water per every inch of trunk diameter. Aim for this each time you water, but then vary the frequency at which you water, depending on what each tree species needs.
Don’t forget that will require much more water than trees growing in the ground.
Mulching Means Less Watering
If your garden trees aren’t mulched, yet you’re spending a significant amount of time watering them, then you’re really missing out. Laying a mulch around a tree is a great way to increase soil moisture levels. The mulch prevents water from evaporating out of the soil, while also holding onto water so that it can be released as and when the tree needs it.
Aim to lay a mulch that’s between 5-10cm deep for maximum moisture benefits.
While watering will require more attention during the summer, even dormant trees in the winter would still benefit from a top-up when soil temperatures aren’t too low. Understanding the correct way to water your trees will enable you to provide this all-important moisture in the best way possible, allowing your trees to really thrive.