Summer Tree Watering

CityForester watering

Those of you who are gardeners may have lamented the weather and late frosts. But this cool, wet, long spring has been great for trees. Adequate moisture, an ease into the season, and cool weather has assisted local trees to put on significant growth and recover from a harsh winter.

Now that summer is approaching, it is time to re-tool and prepare ourselves for a season full of summer tree maintenance. The Farmer’s almanac predicts an average summer weather season. For Grand Rapids, that means alternating periods of warm, wet weather with periods of hot, dry weather.

The first three years after a tree is planted is called the “establishment period” and is the most critical time for that tree’s survival. Far and away, watering is the most important maintenance activity. During summer dry spells, we should be turning our attention to tree watering.

As of writing, it has been 10 days since the last good rain in Grand Rapids. Within that period, there has also been a string of hot, dry weather. If you look around, you may notice that some trees have already begun to droop; the leaves have lost their water pressure and may hang down more than usual.

It is during this type of weather that it is important to water your young trees. Check the soil moisture with your fingers. If the soil feels dry, provide a deep soaking of water around the base of the tree for 10-15 minutes. For a 6-foot tree, this might be 10-20 gallons of water. Check the soil again several days later and repeat watering when necessary. If the soil is moist, wait another day and check again.

Over the summer, keep track of the weather. If we get long spells with no moisture, do your part and water the trees near you.

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One thought on “Summer Tree Watering”

  1. Paul S says:

    My trees are mulched and the ground is sculpted to retain water. That, with two full rain barrels makes for happy trees. I try to save rain water over long dry spells in case I have to flush the soil after deep waterings with tap water.

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