Blog Post By Jona Elwell

2019 Weekly Watering Alert Wrap Up (it’s a wild one!)

One of the best things you can do to ensure the survival of young trees, especially urban trees, is to be sure they receive adequate water each week- an inch and a half of rainfall or the equivalent 25 gallons of water. It’s for this reason that we post Weekly Watering Alerts weekly from May through October and encourage folks to take our #25toStayAlive pledge to water their trees. 

And since we’ve survived another summer here in the District, it’s time to recap our Weekly Watering Alerts! While it’s hard to remember the feeling sweltering temperatures and unrelenting humidity, trees are still reeling from the wacky weather these past two years. We had a remarkable, recording-breaking rain last summer and this summer? Barely a drop. 

However, the summer started off relatively normally – a rainy beginning to May meant Alerts were evenly split between Water and Don’t Water. Likewise, June soldiered on and we continued to water when necessary and skip the hose early summer thunderstorms – nothing to worry about!

Once July hit though, the rain did not. A drier than normal August followed the second half of July that was also was hot and dry. September came and went and we really started to worry – soil moisture levels dropped below the 10th percentile in the region and we topped the temperature charts multiple times, even setting a record high of 98 degrees on September 12. All that and still.no.rain. Folks pleaded homeowners to water anything and everything – we even made the executive decision to extend our Weekly Watering Alerts through October because trees were desperate.

The FOURTEEN week stretch of little to no rainfall ended, thankfully, in October. We’re closing out this month with two Optional Alerts, as scattered rain has provided enough rainfall. The question for trees is will it be enough? Many species, including stalwart oaks, are showing the signs of two stressful summers – one with too much rain and one with not enough.

Needless to say, we’ve spent some quality time with the hose this summer (and spring, and fall). Here’s a breakdown of Weekly Watering Alerts:

As the summer and dry conditions thankfully come to an end, so do our Weekly Watering Alerts. However, just because our Watering Alerts have ended doesn’t mean you should stop watering – our arborist suggests that trees still in their first two to three years should still be watered once a week through November if warm weather persists. Feel free to reach out to us at friends@caseytrees.org or 202-833-4010 if you have any questions.

So what will next year bring? Even more rain? Endless sun? Pots of gold at the end of rainbows? Another World Series championship? Only time will tell. Regardless, any weather is great weather to re-tree D.C.!

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