With all the wet weather we have had this summer you certainly won’t need to do any watering. Although, too little water is harmful to your trees and shrubs, too much water can be just as damaging. Over watering is a common mistake, but luckily it’s easy to control.
When watering your trees it is important to consider the species of tree you are caring for and the needs of that particular tree. If you have a tree that is drought tolerant, like the mugo pine, you will not need to water as much. These trees are adapted to sites in their native habitat that regularly experience prolonged dry spells. However, if you are caring for a species of tree that likes high soil moisture, such as a river birch; you will need to water more during dry weather. These trees thrive best in a large amount of moisture or wet conditions.
It is important to physically check the soil moisture in the root zone of your trees and shrubs before watering. Use your finger or a garden trowel to reach 2” into the soil. The soil should be moist to the touch, and if it is you do not need to water. Simply running your irrigation system at a set time every day may not be best for your trees and shrubs. In fact, if you are not checking your soil, this can easily lead to over watering and the decline of your trees and shrubs!
When watering is needed it is best to apply it slowly and water deeply. For shrubs and small trees, place the end of a hose beneath the branch spread and allow the water to run at a slow trickle. For a large planted bed area or larger trees, a soaker hose or sprinkler set at a low rate can work well for watering.
If you want to spend less money watering your trees you can look for trees that are more drought tolerant and well suited for your yard, but the most important thing you can do is mulch! Mulching around your trees and shrubs helps to conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperature. The mulch layer of 3-4” is good during the fall and winter months.