Water Your Trees!


This last Saturday we heard WGN’s Tom Skilling say that the previous 17 days have been the driest 17 days on record in Chicago since the 1920’s. Considering this takes into account one of the worst droughts on record in Chicago back in 2012, that’s really saying something! It has now been 20 days since our last rainfall.

We’ve had some rain this week but the ground is so dry that any rain we got may have run off or had trouble soaking in to the ground. It may take two or three rains before the ground softens up enough to allow rainfall to effectively reach tree roots. We recommend that you water your more established key trees with a broad spectrum sprinkler that will reach from the trunk all the way to the outer drip line.

On any newer trees that were planted within the last two years, it is important to note that these trees haven’t re-developed their root systems from being dug, balled and burlapped. They have far less water absorption and water storage capacity. On these trees, an open-ended hose should be laid right at the base of the tree and allowed to run on a trickle setting for 30 to 45 minutes to really soak the root ball. On trees planted this year you should be doing this once a week all Summer long and into the Fall. On two year old plantings, once every 10 to 14 days is recommended.

TREES THAT TREE GREEN TRUNK INJECTED THIS YEAR: If we have trunk injected your Ash, White Birch or Scotch or Austrian Pine trees this year with insecticides or your River Birch or Oaks with iron, it will help these trees to move the product internally if you water them now.

WHEN SHOULD YOU WATER AND FOR HOW LONG? We suggest that you water in the early to late evening or early morning, not in the middle of the day as the sun will cause a lot of evaporation before the water can soak in.

Water each area or zone at least one hour; longer if you don’t mind the water bill. An hour may not give the tree all the water it needs but it will help to soften the ground and prepare it for rain.