As a hot, dry summer settles here in New Hampshire, property owners wonder whether their trees and shrubs can handle the weather. Efficient irrigation of trees helps to develop healthy root systems that can last through extended droughts, while improper tree irrigation stunts root growth and leaves your trees vulnerable to current conditions.

Discover these simple tips on efficient irrigation and give your trees a fighting chance this summer.

Low and Slow

While grass needs consistent spurts of water distributed from above via rain or sprinkler, trees prefer slow watering from the ground spread out over a longer period of time.

What About Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation provides the optimum watering system for shrubs and small trees less than 4-inches in diameter. A drip system uses hoses installed at or near the root zone to slowly distribute a small amount of water over an extended time period. With properly sized emitters, a drip irrigation system can keep your trees healthy and thriving all season long.

This type of irrigation system uses much less water than traditional sprinklers or hand watering, since little moisture is lost to evaporation or run off.

Bubblers Water Bigger Trees

Bubblers can be used for irrigation of larger trees (with trunk diameters greater than 4 inches), providing more water and covering a larger part of the root zone. Basins are installed around the tree roots to collect water distributed from the bubbler. This water spreads throughout the surrounding soil at natural rates and is replenished from the bubbler at set times and discharge rates.

The idea of both drip irrigation and bubblers is to provide a low level of water directly to the soil surrounding your trees. This allows moisture to penetrate deeply and encourages root systems to burrow and establish.

Water your trees when soil conditions dictate. Using the hand method (grasp soil from 4 to 8 inches below grade to check for stickiness and moisture content) or stick a soil moisture prod into the ground at the tree base. If the prod penetrates to a depth of 18-inches or more, the moisture content is adequate. If not, get the irrigation started.

Efficient irrigation of trees helps to maintain optimum health and longevity. Learn how to water your trees correctly and protect your investment.