During the drought you might be watering your lawn thinking that will help your trees at the same time.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to help your trees much. They have different water needs than the lawn.
Well-established trees are worth saving more than your lawn.
That’s because a lawn can be reseeded and come back within a year. But a 20-year-old tree will take 20 years to replace. And trees add a lot of value to your house. They provide shade that keeps down your air conditioning costs. Trees add to the value of your house when you want to sell it also. Besides all of this, if a large tree dies, you will have to pay as much as $1000 to have it removed. Watering your trees now makes a lot of sense. Let the lawn go, if need be, but save your trees–especially the older ones.
Important tips from the Colorado State Extension Service:
Mulch around your trees with 4 inches of organic mulch to reduce moisture loss.Use wood chips, shredded bark, leaves or evergreen needles as mulch – avoid the use of stone or rock near trees as this increases air temperatures and moisture loss from leaves and stems.Pull back mulch 6” from the trunk of the tree.Do not fertilize a tree that is under drought stress. Salts in fertilizer may burn roots when there is not sufficient water. Fertilizers may also stimulate top growth resulting in too much leaf area on the plant for the root system to maintain during periods of limited soil moisture.
Prioritize watering needs for different types of trees
The first trees to consider watering are those that will be most vulnerable and affected by dry conditions.
Newly planted and young trees (1-7” diameter) are not yet established and have a limited root system. These trees generally need supplemental water even when we are not experiencing drought conditions. Generally it will take one full year per inch of trunk diameter to get established. Ex. It will take 3 years for a 3” caliper tree to establish itself.
Trees growing within a restricted root zone. Examples are trees adjacent to a driveway or house, growing within a landscape strip between your sidewalk and the street, growing in a median or traffic circle.
Trees that have recently received root injury due to construction work will need supplemental watering because the root system has been compromised.”Click here for great detailed directions on how to water your trees the most efficient way.
There are good tips for finding out which trees are suffering from the drought and exactly how much water to give them.
You can use “gray water” for watering trees and shrubs. Catch shower water in a bucket or use water from washing machine. Just don’t use gray water in your vegetable garden because of possible contamination with germs.