Trees And Water – How Much Do They Really Need?
Trees help to reduce air pollution, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and increase property values. They also add beauty to a landscape and can improve the quality of life for people who enjoy them. Watering trees is a crucial element of their care. How you do it will depend on a number of factors, including weather conditions and soil type.
Water is an important component in many plant processes. It’s involved in photosynthesis and respiration, which build or break down large molecules required for cell growth and survival. It’s also an essential solvent for nearly every element in plants. It is the only molecule that can dissolve a wide variety of compounds, including minerals and other nutrients.
Trees can reduce storm water runoff by helping some rainwater soak into the ground where it is cooled and filtered naturally. They also help hold soil in place, which reduces erosion and pollution. Establishing trees is especially important in dry weather conditions, like the hot summer months. Newly planted trees need to be deep watered 1-2 times per week, until they become well established. Use a watering bag or a hose that is low to the ground, and water down to the drip line, the imaginary line that extends out under the farthest reaches of a tree’s branches. This area is where the tree roots are most likely to grow. Mulching around the base of trees maximizes water uptake and minimizes evaporation and wind drift. It also adds organic material to the soil and suppresses weeds. Applying mulch no more than 2” thick is ideal.
Identify An Overwatered Tree
When trees are overwatered, it can lead to a variety of problems. They can wilt, have discolored bark, and even suffer from mold or fungus growth. When a tree is overwatered, it can also shut down its ability to take in oxygen from the air. This is bad because trees need oxygen to grow, but it can also lead to root rot and long-term tree stress. The easiest way to check whether a tree is overwatered is by digging 6-8 inches deep and taking a sample of soil. The soil should be cool and moist, but not sopping wet or muddy.
Identify An Underwatered Tree
A tree’s leaves and needles turn yellow, wilt or fall when they are underwatered over a long period of time. They may also turn brown or curled if it is an overwatered plant. When a tree is underwatered, its roots struggle to get the oxygen they need and will start to rot. This will result in bacterial and fungal problems. You can identify if your tree is overwatered by doing a quick and easy test: stick a screwdriver into the soil just below your tree’s base. If it’s hard to do, your tree needs more water.
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