According to our friends at Michigan State University, all trees and shrubs need extra watering during dry spells, especially those planted this spring or last fall or those that suffered frost damage this spring. They offer us the following tips.
- Give good, long soakings rather than frequent, light watering. Most trees and shrubs need at least 1 inch of water per week during dry periods. Assuming you’re using a typical garden hose that puts out 5 – 6.5 gallons of water per minute, that equates to 3-4 minutes of watering for tree crown spread of 6 feet. The bigger the tree crown spread, the longer you water.
- Increase the irrigation amount as the temperatures soar. When it is really hot and dry like it’s predicted to be over the next week or more, you want to increase your watering to 2 inches per week.
- Apply mulch properly. Mulching helps the soil retain moisture and stay cool. Two to 3 inches should do the trick.
- Don’t allow water run-off. Make sure as you are watering the water is soaking in to the ground and not overflowing on to the sidewalk or grass. If the water starts to “puddle,” move to another plant while it soaks in, then come back.
- Don’t ignore signs of drought stress in landscape plants. Signs include wilting leaves, leaf scorch, dropping leaves and drooping leaders in conifers.
- Don’t water during hot, mid-day periods. Most of the experts agree early morning is the best time to water to reduce water loss due to evaporation.