Tree watering best practices

City of Ventura provides free gardening classes.

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer

During times of drought, there are water efficient tips you can employ to keep the trees in your landscape healthy and thriving. At Ventura Water’s September 8th free gardening class held at Green Thumb Nursery, Certified Nursery Professional Richard Flowers shared his expert tips.

Flowers encouraged customers to understand their soil type, “If your soil is hard, dry and compacted you may have a clay soil which needs to be watered slowly and less often, rather than sandy soil which can be watered more frequently for not as long.”

Flowers provided recommendations for maximizing soil moisture and improving soil health. “When you first plant a tree, I always suggest creating a basin around the base and filling it with mulch. Avoid mulch touching the main trunk. Incorporating an organic soil mix under the tree’s canopy or by the tree’s drip line (the area located outside the boundary where rainwater would flow off the leaves to the ground) is beneficial because the organic material helps feed the soil biology improving water uptake, and reducing soil compaction.”

To test your soil’s moisture, Flowers suggested using a screwdriver and inserting it approximately 6-8 inches deep at the tree’s drip line. For watering best practices Flowers suggested, “early morning or dusk which limits water loss due to evaporation.” He explained a newly planted tree requires more frequent watering when compared to an established tree which may only need to be watered once a month being careful not to water in one place.”

“Segment your tree watering into zones. Like the face of a clock, water at positions12, 3, 6, and 9 for a total of 100 gallons of water. If you’re watering with a sprinkler system, use a soup can or something similar to measure when approximately 2 inches of water has been applied. A watering hose on a timer can also work well. Just remember, it’s important to water slowly.”

To find out more about the City of Ventura’s free Gardening classes, visit venturawater.net.

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