Tree and Shrub Watering
Low and slow is the key. Turn the hose on at reduced volume and allow the water to trickle at the base of trees and shrubs. To make sure that you’ve given the plant enough water, check the soil! To do this, you should pull back the mulch and test as deep as you can probe. Use a 12-inch screwdriver. If you can insert the screwdriver easily, then the ground is probably watered well. If in doubt, dig up a section of soil to look for dampness.
Soaker hoses and drip hoses can be efficient because they tend not to waste water due to runoff. If your area has mulch, rake the mulch back and bury the soaker hose as close to the soil as possible. Just be aware, soaker hoses don’t always get the entire area wet. Adjust as needed!
The “rule of thumb” is about an inch of water per week but more in drought conditions.
Always double check your plants before writing them off as dead. Trees and shrubs go into a type of dormancy that looks like they are dying, during an extreme drought event. Scratch the bark to see if you can find “green wood” underneath. This is a good sign that the tree is alive.
Do not use blooming and foliage fertilizers during droughts. These can cause stress that lead to death. During dry and hot seasons, only root development fertilizers should be applied. We recommend Espoma Brand Root Tone (available inside the Garden Center).