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Thread: Watering Trees

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    Watering Trees

    Doesn't look like there's any rain coming this week either so I have some questions for those in the know. I am mainly concerned with the trees I've most recently planted. These would be a crimson maple planted about 5 years ago, approx 4" diameter trunk at ground level, and 2 different whitespire birches in groups of 3, both approx 4-6" diameter trunks, planted 10 years ago.
    Should I just go ahead and start watering them now or wait until I see signs of stress? It is not uncommon for me to be away from home for 3-4 weeks but I will get home this w/e. Also, what's the best way to accomplish this? Running a hose slowly at the base seems like a waste but I'd do it to save them. I've checked hardware/farm type stores in the area I'm in this week for some type of tree waterer but haven't had any luck.


    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Re: Watering Trees

    Rittenhouse | Deep Watering Spikes / Tree Watering Stakes

    I would go with something like this. Now I don't know where you can buy locally but a good nursery should have something similar.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    I drilled a small hole in a couPle old 5 gal buckets. Fill and let drain slowly and repeat a couple of times.

    I've watered my 5 yr old trees a couple of times, not sure if it's NEEDED but not worth losing the tree for no more time/effort.


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    Re: Watering Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by CykoAGR View Post
    I drilled a small hole in a couPle old 5 gal buckets. Fill and let drain slowly and repeat a couple of times.

    I've watered my 5 yr old trees a couple of times, not sure if it's NEEDED but not worth losing the tree for no more time/effort.
    Do you set the buckets at the base of the tree and how many times do you refill each bucket?


    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Re: Watering Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by CyCrazy View Post
    Rittenhouse | Deep Watering Spikes / Tree Watering Stakes

    I would go with something like this. Now I don't know where you can buy locally but a good nursery should have something similar.
    Completely forgot about nurseries. Ordering may do me no good if I don't get home in time.


    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Re: Watering Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Acylum View Post
    Do you set the buckets at the base of the tree and how many times do you refill each bucket?
    I can't find it online but I bought a diffuser that screws onto the end of the hose. It's about the size of a large coffee cup and basically turns the end of the hose into a soaker that won't erode stuff like just running the water out the end of the hose. Bought it a Menards a few years back and see that they still care them.

    You should water now before you see stress. I drove on Hwy 20 over by Independence two weekends ago and saw tree by a school with fall color. Fall color at the beginning of July is BAD.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    In the severe Texas drought last year I kept a very large oak alive with soaker hoses. It had only been planted 1 year (~6-8" diameter trunk & 15' tall). Two 50' soakers ran from separate faucets wrapped in circles (6-8" apart each circle) around the tree. Let it run a couple hours every few days.




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    Re: Watering Trees

    This publication covers what ISU says on watering newly planted trees.

    And, this ISU Forestry piece does not appear to favor deep watering wands -
    "When watering is necessary for new plantings, use enough water to soak the entire root system to that root depth of 20 inches or more.* The best watering technique is to use soaker or drip systems, ensuring that applied water enters the soils rather than running off.* Surface soaking allows the tree more chances to absorb water and helps maintain nutrient cycling by moving nutrients down to the root system.* The use of wands to deep soil water is not as efficient as watering from the top and often results in incomplete watering.* It is important not to over water with respect to frequency.* Allow the root system to dry out moderately to stimulate root expansion and growth.* Use 3 to 4 inches of organic mulches to help conserve water."

    I can't find any solid recommendations on watering established trees, other than warnings of be careful to not overwater soil. Soil needs to dry out between waterings.

    With that being said, we're getting a ton of calls about conifer issues. On top of a handful of pathogens causing issues, Extension is talking about the 1-2 punch. A wet years causes root rot/dieback issues. Then, when followed by a dry year, the tree doesn't have a big enough rootmass to pull in enough water. Viola, major tree decline.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Acylum View Post
    Doesn't look like there's any rain coming this week either so I have some questions for those in the know. I am mainly concerned with the trees I've most recently planted. These would be a crimson maple planted about 5 years ago, approx 4" diameter trunk at ground level, and 2 different whitespire birches in groups of 3, both approx 4-6" diameter trunks, planted 10 years ago.
    Should I just go ahead and start watering them now or wait until I see signs of stress? It is not uncommon for me to be away from home for 3-4 weeks but I will get home this w/e. Also, what's the best way to accomplish this? Running a hose slowly at the base seems like a waste but I'd do it to save them. I've checked hardware/farm type stores in the area I'm in this week for some type of tree waterer but haven't had any luck.
    Trees will go into early dormant if they get dry. You will see leaves changing colors, this isn't because the tree is dying, rather it is the tree just protecting itself. The trees you described sound like they are probably big enough to withstand this drought by themselves. Where I live it is pretty common for the trees on the hills to start changing color in July because of the lack of water.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    I'm worried about a lot more than trees!



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    Re: Watering Trees

    I'd water the trees if I cared about them a lot and had time to do it. Not sure the best way, but would say it is worth it.

    Remember, a tree sucks a lot of water. Probably way more than you think.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    I just watered a few at the disc course.



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    Re: Watering Trees

    just dropped my daughter off at the at a location in WDM. they have some maples that are probably 5-10 years in the ground, in full sun, and the leaves are drying up. maples are a shallow-rooted tree - i'd definitely get your trees on a watering program based on how those trees looked.

    edit - jaretac - the maples i saw were changing colors to a crispy brown. no pretty yellow, reds, or oranges.


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    Re: Watering Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Acylum View Post
    Do you set the buckets at the base of the tree and how many times do you refill each bucket?
    I set mine at or near the drip line which is at the outside edge of the foliage. Picture the raindrops falling from the leaves, directly next to the trunk is dry and where the water drips to the ground is the drip line. This doesn't have to be perfect at all just general area.

    I fill 2 buckets a couple of times each and move them to a slightly different spot each fill.

    Gemplers magazine might also have some tree watering bags/tubes etc that you can buy. The buckets are the same idea just free because I had them lying around.

    I've been doing 20-30 gallons once a week and my trees are doing ok. I'm babying some younger crab apples that the Japanese beetles hit and do those about 2 times a week.


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    – columnist Sean Keeler, Des Moines Register

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    Re: Watering Trees

    Here is a picture of the Yardworks bubbler Menards sells for about $4. Works well as an end of hose soaker. I use it to water my columnar white pines. Just dropped it here next to a hosta for demo.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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