I have spoken to many of you this summer about our continuing drought and need to water our trees. The question comes up about how to water and how long?
When applying water around established trees, use any method that thoroughly moistens the soil to a depth of 12 inches or more out to and beyond the drip line. Methods that apply the water directly to the soil surface will be most efficient. A porous soaker hose works well, or just let a pencil thin stream of water from a garden hose soak the ground before moving it to another location. Don’t expect to adequately water an established tree with a hand held hose. It’s unlikely you will be willing to stand there long enough to do much good. Water lances or “root feeders” aren’t as suitable as surface application, in most cases, because they may introduce the water deeper than the surface feeding roots. However, on steep slopes or in impervious soil, they may be useful. If such devices are used, they should only be inserted a few inches deep and the water should be released at a very slow rate so that underground air pockets aren’t created by a high pressure stream of water.