Posted on 27th July 2018 at 10:30
Should I be watering my trees in this heatwave?
Young trees should be watered regularly; every couple of weeks, and more often in dry weather, for at least two years after they are planted. In times of drought, when it hasn’t rained for a month or more (what we are currently experiencing), even large, mature trees will need watering.
Firstly, when watering mature/established trees, provide enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10" or more and concentrated the water on the areas beneath the branches, not just the trunk. A tree will spread its roots out to the sides, so setting up a sprinkler or irrigation system under the tree branches will give the water a better chance to reach the roots. The best way to water is slowly and for a long time. You don't need to do this often as established trees hold a huge supply of water. In dry conditions, once every couple of weeks should be sufficient.
Recently planted trees have not got a large network of roots yet, so they will definitely require more watering. Their roots will be closer to the trunk, so it's best to concentrate the water there at the root ball.
Try to avoid growing plants or grass on top of the root system as they will use up the majority of the water intended for the tree, stopping it from getting to its roots. It's best to mulch the area at the base of the tree, as it retains moisture in the soil. We'd suggest leaving a gap between the mulch and the trees and avoid piling it at the base of the tree to prevent rotting.
Your trees may show signs that they are thirsty; the leaves will start to wilt / curl up and will look dry. It is possible to recover a tree at this stage by following the steps above as soon as possible.