Watering Trees and Shrubs

Plants Don’t Waste Water—People Do!

How Should I Water?

Drip Systems — Most drip systems do not have enough well placed and spaced emitters. Add emitters and increase the area watered as the plants grow.

Bubblers — Be sure the basins are level and extend beyond the edge of the canopy. Avoid watering near the trunk. Soaker Hoses — A perforated hose made from recycled tires is a good device for watering, but can emit water in a random pattern.

Sprinklers — Cover a large area but can be inefficient because of wind and evaporation.

How Much Should I Water?

Be sure to water the root zone to the indicated root depth every time you water (see table below). How will you know this? Push a “soil probe,” a smooth rod (1\4 to 3\8 “ diameter), into the ground soon after you irrigate. The soil probe should easily slide through the wet soil and become difficult to push when reaching dry soil. Watering deeper than the root zone only means you are wasting water.

How Often Should I Water?

Water consumption rates vary greatly among plant species. High water use plants like cottonwood and willow trees that grow naturally along water ways, need much more water than established arid region plants. A good rule of thumb is to water when your soil probe won’t penetrate the ground more than 3 - 4”.

Source: http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1298/

Another Great Resource:
Rutgers Landscaping for Water Preservation



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