Watering Tips for Your Trees (3)

How is the dry winter affecting your trees?

We have been experiencing extremely dry winter along the Front Range. Below average precipitation can lead to a higher stress level in trees and shrubs. When trees run low on stored energy, it opens the door to attack by insects and diseases. Many mature trees, even native to our environment, can be affected. One of the most important factors in keeping a tree healthy and in high vigor is water.

How much water do trees need?

The amount of water a tree needs depends on many variables and not least of all, the species. For example, a plains cottonwood can live on much less water than a white ash. To find out how much your tree needs, measure (or estimate) its diameter at four feet off the ground, then multiply that number by six. The total is approximately how many gallons of water you should use per watering. A tree with a ten inch diameter at four feet should be given 60 gallons of water per watering. This may seem like a lot of water for larger trees, but keep in mind this only needs to be done once or twice a month. Moreover, using a larger volume ensures sufficient water becomes available to the tree. Spacing the watering applications apart is also important. This allows the soil to properly aerate and gives the tree the oxygen it needs. During hot months (July/August) with little rain, water established trees twice.

Winter Watering Is Very Important
Water trees and shrubs once a month during the dormant season. This becomes critical when moisture levels drop below normal averages. Dry, windy conditions can also lead to cell damage and plant tissue death, causing the plant to lose portions of its crown or die. Winter watering can be inconvenient but is extremely important.

Fine Tree Service does offer winter watering via spray trucks for customers in need of this service.

Where do I water?

Tree roots spread out farther than the tree is tall. Ideally, you could move the hose around the drip zone while watering, but studies have shown the highest concentration of absorption roots per a volume of soil is near the base of the tree. Turn the water on at a rate that sinks into the soil. At that rate, time how long it takes to fill a one gallon container. This is your calibration for how long to leave the water on. Place the hose at the base of the tree until you reach your desired watering goal.

If you have questions or concerns about a particular tree or site, please call (970) 377-2851 or e-mail us at info@finetrees.com. An arborist will be happy to recommend a proper watering schedule for your trees.

General Tree Care

When should I have my trees pruned?

There are many differing “opinions” that you may hear concerning this question. In general timing is less important than people think. If a tree is pruned correctly almost any time frame is OK. There are some exceptions however. Trees that can become infected by diseases through pruning cuts should not be pruned while that disease is active. An example of this would be the bacterial disease fire blight. Susceptible hosts (Apple, Crabapple, Hawthorn, etc.) should not be pruned during disease activity.

Trees that have damaging insects should not be pruned during periods of high activity. The cutting of branches can actually attract the potentially damaging insect. Examples of this are pruning Pines during Pine Beetle flights or American Elms during elm bark beetle flights.

Your arborist should be able to tell you when it is safe to prune your different plants.