Published on 03/25/12

Water thirsty trees with soak hoses, drip irrigation

By Frank M. Watson

Trees across Georgia are declining due to drought.

The best ways to water trees are by soaker hose or drip irrigation. Automated lawn sprinklers are less efficient for applying water to trees. Even a garden hose, moved often, can provide a good soil soaking and that’s what’s needed about once a week in the absence of rain.

Young, newly planted trees need additional watering care. Water has limited horizontal movement in soil. You must apply water directly over where you need it in the soil.

For new trees, concentrate water over the root ball, as well as the planting area. Old, large trees can be watered over the entire area under their foliage.

The best time to water is early in the morning - ideally 6 a.m. Watering during this time reduces losses to evaporation and assures that more water moves into the soil and tree.

Frank Watson is the University of Georgia Extension agent in Wilkes County, Ga.

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