Should I be watering my established trees during the drought we're having?
Well-established trees and shrubs can survive long periods of dry weather without supplemental watering. But if they suffer moisture stress, they may be more susceptible to attack by diseases, insects, or other environmental stresses. Younger trees and newer plantings should be higher on your watering priority list than established ones. However, if the leaves on your established trees begin to wilt, if you notice a change in leaf color, or if the margins of the leaves turn brown, it's time to give these trees a good soaking. Most roots grow in the top 12 inches of soil, so wet the soil uniformly to that depth. Soak the entire area under the canopy of the tree. It's best to water with drip irrigation or a soaker hose laid on the soil's surface in concentric circles around the tree. You can also water with a sprinkler, but it's more difficult to apply water uniformly with a sprinkler, and you may have to turn it off for a while to let the water soak in, then sprinkle again to soak the soil a full foot deep. It's a good idea to dig down near the drip line of the tree to determine how deep the water has soaked in.
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