How to help your trees avoid long-term drought damage

by Contributed Content on July 20, 2021

You can help preserve Menlo Park’s Tree City USA heritage this summer by making sure your trees avoid long-term drought damage by following some simple tree care guidelines.

Water mature trees once a month by irrigating near the edge of the tree canopy (drip line) at a low flow rate for a long duration to allow water to infiltrate down at least 18”-24” deep into the soil (rule of thumb – use 10 gallons per 1 inch of trunk diameter).

For young trees not yet established, water every 3-5 days within the drip line and check the moisture level of the soil at least 2” down to ensure you’re not overwatering.

The use of drip irrigation and bubblers can offer efficient watering. Additionally a simple soaker hose found at any garden center can be just as effective and provide the extra flexibility of moving irrigation easily where it’s needed.

Trees both young and old can benefit significantly from adding a thick (2”-4”) layer of wood chip mulch as ground cover in the area under the drip line. Mulch works to help conserve soil moisture, moderate temperatures, improve soil conditions, reduce the potential for surfacing roots and improve tree health.

Check out Cal Fire’s infographic for more detailed information on the importance of maintaining trees during a drought.

From Menlo Updates; used with permission

Photo by Frances Freyberg (c) 2011

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