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Helping Your Trees Survive the Drought

instruct homeowners on the proper care and watering of their trees on October 28, 2014 at a home in Sacramento, CA

Published: 2 July 2021

As temperatures rise amid drought conditions in California, it’s important to remember to take care of one of the most valuable resources in our neighborhoods -- our trees.

Homeowners can neglect watering their trees when attempting to conserve water because they’re worried about water waste. Because of this, trees that are dependent on regular watering can deteriorate or die.

While homeowners may think they’re saving water, they’re actually causing more harm. Trees offer more benefits than just being beautiful: they reduce pollution, conserve water, prevent erosion and can even help save energy.

How to much should you water?

Trees need water during every stage of life. When determining how much and often you should water, you’ll need to know the age, species, and location of your tree. Since young trees are still forming root systems, they need the help of water to establish deeper roots at the base. Mature trees, on the other hand, require deeper and slower watering at the edge of the tree canopy. Keep in mind that trees located near heat traps like driveways or house foundations will require more water.

Best Practices for Watering

Keeping in mind the time of day when watering your trees during a drought. One of the primary causes of water loss is evaporation.

Instead of watering during the day when the weather is at its peak, water in the morning or evening to allow your tree to fully absorb the water.

Another way you can help retain moisture is using mulch around the base of your tree. The mulch helps regulate temperature while releasing nutrients into the soil.

Watering tips:

  • Plant native or drought resistant tree species that require less water
  • Avoid watering the trunk of the tree since it can potentially lead to rot and disease
  • When using mulch, create for a donut shape around the tree instead of a volcano
  • During drought, water directly with a hose or 5-gallon bucket. You can also install a drip irrigation system.