Protecting and Caring for Your Trees During Drought
Colorado is a semi-arid, shortgrass prairie with fluctuating weather patterns and an inconsistent climate that makes growing trees challenging. Drought only compounds the challenges.
During times of drought, there are several effective watering methods recommended to ensure trees receive the required moisture.
When to Water During Drought
All trees need to be watered from April to September according to the recommended watering guidelines.
It is recommended that trees are watered early in the morning or after the sun has set. This will help reduce evaporation that occurs more rapidly in the heat of the day.
When under watering restrictions, trees should be given watering priority over the lawn. It is important to remember that a lawn may be replaced in a very short period of time. Replacing a tree is not only costly, it will take years to grow.
How to Water During Drought
- Deep watering to a depth of 12” inches below the soil surface.
- Saturate the soil around the tree to the outer edges of the tree’s branches.
- Water with a slow flow of water over a longer period of time.
Tweak your maintenance
During dry spells, cut back on fertilizing. In dry conditions, fertilizer salts can dehydrate plant roots. Plus, the extra stimulus to put on growth requires even more water.
Amend and Mulch
Dig compost into the soil to help hold moisture and encourage healthy root growth, then mulch with organic material such as wood chips. Mulch slows the evaporation of ground moisture and helps keep soil temperatures lower, reducing stress on plants. Also, natural mulches break down slowly over time, adding valuable organic matter to the soil. Research at Washington State University showed that wood chips were superior to herbicides in controlling weeds. Fewer weeds mean less competition in your garden for available water.
You can check the latest Colorado Drought Index here.