June 18, 2021

Be Water-aware Tree Care!

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TreeUtah encourages you to be water-aware. Since summers in Utah are hot and dry, it is important to make sure your trees are getting enough water. Due to differing elevations, microclimates, and tree species, it is not possible to recommend an exact amount of water that any given tree needs, but follow the guidelines below to be sure your trees have the water they need.

Infrequent, deep watering is more beneficial than frequent, shallow watering. Unestablished trees should be watered 1-2 times per week to a depth of 2-4.” Deep watering ensures that the tree roots grow deeper in the soil, which allows them to be more drought-tolerant later in the tree’s life.

How to Check if Trees Need Water

Over-watering a tree can be just as harmful as under-watering, so be sure to check before watering. Use a garden trowel or even your hand to create a small, narrow trench near the trunk of the tree. The trench should be 2-4″ deep. If the soil is moist to the touch, the tree doesn’t need water. If the soil is dry, give the tree water.

Watering Newly Planted and Non-Established Trees

The first 2 years of a tree’s life is critical for survival. The tree is establishing its root system in the soil and is sensitive to stressors like heat and drought. Water a newly planted tree immediately after planting and routinely check the soil moisture often to be sure the tree has enough water for the next 2 growing seasons. After the tree is established, it will have an easier time adjusting to heat and drought conditions.

Gator Bags

Another easy way to be sure your unestablished tree has enough water is to use a gator bag. This is a zip-up bag that goes around the trunk of the young tree. Fill the bag with water and it will slowly drip out of the bag to water the tree. The bag will need to be filled about once every 5-7 days.

Look here for drought-tolerant trees: https://treeutah.org/tree-guide#climate-adapted-for-a-hotter-and-drier-future and here: https://cwel.usu.edu/water-wise-plants

Due to the severe drought right now, we recommend watering 2 times per week in Northern Utah and 3 times a week in Southern Utah to help extend the water supply. The goal during extreme drought conditions isn’t lush landscapes but rather “survival watering” to keep high-value plants alive like trees and shrubs. Grass is resilient and can survive with as little as 1″ of water a month. It won’t be green and will enter dormancy during times of drought and high temperatures but will recover when conditions improve. Thank you for doing your part to #SlowTheFlow! Find more drought info at: Drought.utah.gov Find drought tips at: SlowTheFlow.org