Dog Days Of The Summer

timeApril 07, 2015

Tree Trimming examples

"The Dog Days" of summer are here. As we all struggle to stay cool, so does our landscape. We have been in a drought period for the last three years, until last year, and who knows what this year will bring. This "Tip of the Month" is about reminding us all how important it is to monitor the irrigation practices of our landscapes. Most of us have automated water systems. Many set it and forget it for the whole year. One of the biggest concerns that I have is that most people, including landscapers and gardeners, do not water properly.

I have been doing research on watering practices for landscapes for many years. First of all, our water in San Diego has a high alkaline content and second, most of our fertilizers that are man made have salt in them. Many people set their irrigation controller to water every day for short periods. Short periods of watering are usually 3- 5 minutes per station. Watering for such a short period only teases our landscape and can cause stress on our vegetation. Tree roots are deeper than lawn roots. Proper watering is necessary to make both trees and lawns compatible. People that water every day for short periods of time are not giving the tree the water it needs for a healthy vascular system. Short watering usually will enhance a compacted soil base and a build up of salt. Tree roots will grow more towards the surface looking for oxygen and water. The purpose of deep watering is the train the roots to stay below the soil line better and to leach out unwanted salts. Proper watering will also help the growth be lush and help fight off insects and disease. Lawns have a much shorter root system. You want to train your lawn to the deepest root depth for the type of lawn that you have to maximize your water use. I like to moisten the soil to a depth of about 6 inches for a lawn. Roots will follow the water table. If you don't water deeply, the roots have no reason to go deeper. Over watering can also become a problem, creating root rots and fungi.

Soil can have a big effect on how much a person needs to water. Having heavy clay will hold moisture more than either a loamy or a decomposed granite (DG) base. You need to determine what type of soil that you have first. Using a soil probe is the best way to determine your soil type by removing a core sample. Using a soil probe is also a good way to set your irrigation controller because it will show on the extracted core how far the water is penetrating the soil.

There are many factors that go into having the right watering schedule. You will also change your watering scheduling as the seasons change (yes we do get changes). This "Tip of the Month" is to help you be aware of when and how much you are watering so as to use our water resources responsibly. If you need more information or help please give me a call. I'd be more than happy to assist you in helping you have a more healthy and beautiful landscape.

Joseph L. Jonas, President Considerate Tree Care Inc.

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Member in good standing with the following associations:

International Society of Arboriculture * Professional Tree Care Association

International Society of Arboriculture Professional Tree Care Association