Water Your Trees and Lawn Where It Counts

Water Your Trees and Lawn Where It Counts

Confused as to which season is ending and which one is about to begin?

Although you'll notice the calendar makes it pretty clear the first day of autumn falls on Sunday, Sept. 22 this year, Mother Nature doesn't always adhere to those dates. Instead, she often changes her "mood." The resulting unusual environmental conditions gets you caught up in the transition, unsure whether you should pack away your shorts and T-shirts just yet or resurface your sweaters from the depths of your closet earlier than planned.

The summer months delivered some heavy rains that saturated lawns with excessive water and moisture, while other regions suffered extreme heat and drought. Unfortunately, both cases present similar symptoms on your trees and turf. No matter the extreme weather conditions you've suffered this season, knowing the differences between parched and drowning roots can help you better prepare your landscape for fall.

High Heat. Very hot and dry weather can not only put stress on peo­ple, but also on our trees.

Excessively dry soil conditions can significantly reduce the life span of your valuable landscape trees. Be­cause they are difficult and expensive to replace, your trees need attention during and after drought periods.

drought recovery
Photo: Fotolia.com - Ivan Kmit

Symptoms include wilted foliage, a sparse canopy of off-color and undersized leaves, leaf scorch, yellowing, leaf drop and premature fall color.

Perhaps even more life-threaten­ing than anything to a tree suffering drought is invasion by borers and disease-causing organisms that can happen as the tree is recuperating and still in a weakened state.

Solutions include watering appro­priately--slow, deep watering every five to seven days during drought is ideal for mature trees in 75- to 85-de­gree weather and every four to six days in 95- to 105-degree weather. For young or newly planted trees, slow and deep watering every three days is a good recommendation.

Water Works. Warm, excessively wet weather may have you seeing spots in your landscape.

Unless you're checking out the leopards at your local zoo or admiring a pointillism painting at your nearby art museum, then seeing spots probably isn't a good sign.

The spots we're referring to are those blemishes and blights that can appear in your lawn or on your tree leaves when warm, wet weather lingers, creating the perfect conditions for diseases to form and spread. These lesions or unusual patches can ruin your lush landscape vista--not to men­tion diminish property values.

As a result of weather's impact on your lawn and landscape, renovation may be necessary this fall to get your property back in shape. Lawn renovation ser­vices, such as core aeration and overseeding, can help reestablish desirable grasses and thicken turf to provide a stable, healthy base capable of better fighting weeds next spring.

So, while lengthy summer rains have kept lawns lush and green, they may have also had some negative effects, such as turf, shrub and tree diseases.

watering roots
Photo: Fotolia.com - Alexander Potapov

Smart Sips. Whether your trees and shrubs are dry and brittle from the heat, or soaked and saturated from the rains, water them where they need it most.

Trees recovering from a harsh winter, temporarily coping with drought stress, or lacking a seasonal substitute for an irrigation system, can benefit from subsurface water­ing.

This "green innovation" gets to the root of the problem--and it's easy to implement. By placing water below grade, it is more efficiently distributed and less likely to run off or evaporate. The soil injection technique also bypasses slow soil infiltration rates of soils that contain high clay content, making it a viable alternative to surface watering.

The injection of water under pres­sure into the soil may also provide some soil compaction relief--an added benefit for your trees.

Need help? One of Davey's professionally trained arborists can help you learn more about the needs of your trees, shrubs and turf.

  • Bob Woodruff August 5, 2016 >I might (from my experience) add that conifers, in particular red pine, are very intolerant of drought stress. The result is the pine bark beetle...........which can deplete a large population of trees in relatively short order.
  • The Tree Doctor November 12, 2014 >Hi, Michelle! We appreciate your comment. You could water your trees and shrubs today to prepare them for the winter season. If you do water them today, watering them again just prior to the ground freezing would also help.
  • Michelle Kersey November 12, 2014 >I am in Baltimore, Maryland and we are getting ready for freezing temps at least for the next week. Was wondering when I should deep water my trees and shrubs for the winter season. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  • The Tree Doctor November 11, 2014 >Hi Michael! Thanks for the comment. The best time to water your maple before winter depends on where you live. For example, you could deep water the tree now if you live in Illinois or a similar region; or, you should deep water your tree next month if you live in or near the Georgia region. Timing is more critical for conifer trees that retain their green needles through winter. We hope this helps you!
  • Michael Stephen November 11, 2014 >Two year old Crimson Maple. Should I deep water it now (November 11) before the cold weather?
  • The Tree Doctor September 4, 2014 >Nancy, thank you for your comment! Please send us your location and contact information so we can reach out to your local office with your request. In the meantime, check out this link for more watering tips on our blog: http://blog.davey.com/?s=water+your+trees. Thanks!
  • nancy stahl September 4, 2014 >I just recently planted a "baby" king crimson oriental maple tree in my back yard. It is looking really good, and I have soaked it twice in the two weeks it has been planted. I soak the area around the tree for 30 to 40 minutes with a slow stream and place the hose at the trunk of the tree. The tree is in direct sun most of the day and is approximately 3 feet from an asphalt driveway. Am I watering the tree properly? How do I water it going forward? Someone from Davey is coming to trim up my other maple tree this fall; perhaps they could take a look at the "little guy" and advise me on its care. It was planted with plenty of fertilizer and topsoil. Thanks for the help.
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