Drought Requires a New Look at Tree Watering

//Drought Requires a New Look at Tree Watering

Drought Requires a New Look at Tree Watering

When we have an extra short winter, with very little snow pack, Colorado is typically in a mild to moderate state of drought.  Prolonged dry periods put stress on your trees by drying out the soil.

These conditions make it extremely difficult to keep your trees thriving.

While our outreach mostly talks about the importance of winter watering, drought requires taking a new look at tree watering during the summer. During the summer months a proper watering is the best way to make sure your trees grow optimally.  According to Keith Wood, the community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service, “Dry trees become susceptible to root and branch die-back followed by subsequent insect and disease problems.”

All of Colorado in some form of drought forces tree owners to be thrifty with their watering usage.  Here are some ideas the Colorado State Forest Service have put together to help you deal with water issues.

  • Water a wide area. Tree root systems, unlike carrots, may spread two to three times wider than
    the height of the tree, with most absorbing roots in the top foot of soil. Apply water to soak the
    entire area within the drip line (the critical root zone directly underneath the full span of a tree’s
  • Water slowly. To ensure deep penetration, use a deep root fork (inserted 8 inches or less), soaker
    hose on low setting or soft spray wand to apply water slowly to the full area within the drip line.
    Placing a running garden hose against the base of a tree for several minutes is far less effective.
  • Keep the yard green. Trees located in irrigated lawns generally do not require additional water,
    as long as the area surrounding the tree receives adequate moisture. Conversely, a dry, yellow yard
    means the roots of any trees present are also dry.
  • Focus on non-irrigated trees. Trees that do not receive water from sprinkler systems or irrigation
    require additional water. Every week, apply 10 gallons of water for each inch of tree trunk
    diameter. Water newly planted trees even more frequently; larger trees, which have extensive root
    systems, can be watered less frequently.
  • Mulch. Mulch is an inexpensive solution to retain soil moisture and save water. Apply 4 inches of
    organic mulch onto bare soil within 2 to 3 feet from the base of the trunk (removing any grass
    first, if necessary). Do not allow the mulch to directly contact the trunk.
  • Follow the rules. When planning a watering regimen, remember to follow any current watering


Read more about about Denver tree watering in winter.


About the Author:

Tree care updates and news items as well as best practices for canopy management to keep your trees and lawn sustainably growing. These posts represent a synthesis of our best practices and knowledge from serving thousands of customers.