It’s a different, physically distant spring here at Casey Trees and in D.C. We may not have weekends jam packed with tree plantings and volunteers, but life still moves on, trees still grow, and most importantly, the temperatures are still on the rise.
If you’re dedicated to urban trees and weren’t able to contribute in your ‘normal’ way this spring by planting or inventorying trees, we’re here to introduce you to the easiest way to restore, enhance, and protect trees throughout our fair city. Water them! That’s right. Ol’ H20, applied consistently and effectively is one of the best ways to ensure a young tree’s establishment. When they establish properly and securely, they can grow to become healthy, large, mature trees whose benefits (shade! carbon sequestration! Water absorption and filtration! beauty!) increase exponentially.
When we say young tree, we mean those who have been in the ground for three years or less. Don’t have a newly planted tree in your yard from one of our residential programs? Don’t worry! Chances are there is a young street tree by your house that could use some love. You can help out by watering neighborhood street trees and check out the size, species, and watering history of street trees in the city’s innovative Tree Watering App! Just like raking leaves and shoveling snow, watering street trees is part of being a resident in our beloved, a rain thirsty, city.
How to ensure you’re watering your tree in the most effective way? First off, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter, the Leaflet where we release Watering Alerts every week from May to October and take the guesswork out of whether or not your tree has received enough rain.
And now, for how exactly to water those lil trees:
- These trees are the most susceptible to damage/death due to inadequate water first. Start with those trees located in areas with limited soil – think street trees and those surrounded by/near concrete and curbs.
- Water slowly. The ground is hard and dry – water will run off if too much is applied too quickly.
- Place a hose a foot or so from the base of the tree and turn it on to a trickle. Set a timer to let the water run for one to two hours. Occasionally moving it the hose nozzle to provide water to the entire root zone of the tree. If you have a small sprinkler head you can use that to cover a wider area – but again turn it on to low.
- You can also water with a five-gallon bucket that you have drilled some (three is sufficient) holes in the bottom about the diameter of a pencil lead. Place the bucket at the base of the tree, fill the bucket to the top with water, let it drain, move it slightly, and fill it again – up to five times.
- If you can, place a mulch ring around the tree following the 3-3-3 rule. Mulch keeps the water in the soil feeding the roots by slowing evaporation.
And that’s it! The simple secret to ensuring newly planted trees’ survival – water. Watering alerts start next week folks, summer is coming.