Campus News

Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems to water thirsty trees

Trees across Georgia are declining due to drought, but Frank Watson, a public service associate with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recommends watering thirsty trees with soaker hoses and drip irrigation.

Automated lawn sprinklers are less efficient for applying water to trees, he said. 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. Because water has limited horizontal movement in soil, it should be applied directly over where it’s needed 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.

Another tip is to add mulch to reduce moisture stress and help cool the soil in the heat of summer.

Water slowly and deeply about once a week. A soaker hose placed around the drip line of the tree is ideal.

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