Last summer and early fall we saw record-breaking rainfall, a long distant memory compared to this year. The Capital Weather Gang noted that before the sprinkling this morning, “…this September was tied for the driest on record with 0.11” of rain in D.C.”.
Summer is a tough time for any tree, but especially newly-planted trees (one to three years old) and those with confined root systems (in planters or street trees). Those trees need 25 gallons of water or 1.5 inches of rain a week to survive. We recommend deep watering/soaking. This is a practice that keeps the soil moist to a depth that includes all the roots. You can purchase a slow-release watering bag for your tree (must be able to pick up at our Brookland HQ).
We spoke to Adrian Higgins, resident Washington Post gardening columnist about how you can help young trees throughout the city! Adrian summed up our thoughts succinctly, “In attending to all your parched plants, how you water makes all the difference. Squirting a shrub for 10 seconds before you move on to the next is of little value. What your plants need now is a deep soaking.” We have helpful how-to videos on watering street trees and Adrian lists a watering can friendly method.
We issue Watering Alerts every week in our Leaflet and on our homepage, Facebook and Twitter. Alerts typically end come September 30, but it’s been so dry we’re extending these through October. If you haven’t already, we have created a “25 to Stay Alive” Watering Pledge to get folks on board. Pledge now and you get a freebie!
Watering is critical as Adrian noted, “attend to the thirst, for reasons that now go beyond the obvious value of a beloved plant. A healthy tree takes carbon from the atmosphere. A dead one doesn’t.”