Summer is here! While this is good news to people, it can be bad news to your young tree. Seattle’s hot, dry summers are hard on them. To make sure your young trees thrive through the summer, now is the time to start watering your tree at least once per week. Here are two options that will best meet your trees’ needs:
Option 1: Use watering bags
Simply open up your watering bag, place around the base of the tree, and fill with water at least once per week. The watering bag will control the release of water so that it drips slowly from the bag, allowing the water to filtrate deep into the soil where the tree roots can soak it up.
Option 2: Use a hose
Build a low ring of dirt about 1 foot from the trunk of the tree (called a berm) so that you are creating a shallow moat around the tree. Place your hose inside this moat and set it to a slow trickle for about 30 minutes once a week. Keeping the hose on a trickle will allow the water to soak in rather than run off; the moat will keep the water where the roots of a newly planted tree are. Note: you should be very careful that the berm walls do not collapse and bury the tree’s root flare, the area where the roots emerge from the trunk. If that happens, pull the soil back so that the root flare is once again exposed.
A 2-4 inch thick layer of bark mulch around the base of your tree (but staying a hands-width away from the trunk) will work wonders to maintain soil moisture and control weeds.