The implications of dry weather for farmers are obvious, but city residents should be concerned, too. The City of Stevens Point asks residents to water street trees in front of their homes when they water other trees on their property.
The implications of the recent dry weather for farmers are obvious, but Stevens Point residents should be concerned, too, because of the threat to the city's tree canopy. Trees, besides being nice to sit under on a hot day, are a big benefit to any community. A shaded house doesn't need as much air conditioning. Trees boost property values. Trees are also good for the air and water quality because they filter out harmful pollutants that otherwise would wash directly into our streams and rivers or would be inhaled directly into our lungs.
Extremely hot and dry conditions quickly zap the life out of trees, especially those that are newly planted. Dry conditions also make trees more susceptible to disease or attacks from insects.
The City of Stevens Point asks residents to remember to water city street trees in front of their homes when they are watering other trees on their property, especially recently planted trees, during the hot and dry times we are presently experiencing.
Soak the soil beneath the tree out to the outermost ends of the branches for an hour or so every week. You may not have to water smaller younger trees as long, but during hot days you may have to water more often. For example, if you have a two-inch diameter street tree out in front of your home, that tree would need about twenty gallons of water every 5-7 days, which is the equivalent of an inch of rain. Providing this water would cost a homeowner about four cents per watering.
At least once a week, fill a 5-gallon bucket and slowly pour the water around the base of your tree, or poke 2-4 small holes in the bucket on the sides (near the bottom) and let the water slowly drip out. Tree-gators, which hold 20 gallons of water and slowly let it seep into the ground, can be purchased at garden centers.
If you prefer to use a garden hose, you can position it at the base of your tree set it on trickle for one hour to get the recommended twenty gallons at least once a week. Watering twice a week is better during hot and dry times like those that we are currently experiencing.
For larger, mature trees, or trees with visible signs of stress like loss of leaves or yellowing foliage, use a water-conserving drip hose around the drip lines of your trees, watering very gradually once a week for a 24-hour period.
Water your trees in the evening after 9 p.m., or in the morning before 7 a.m. to prevent evaporation and water usage during peak times.
In addition to watering, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your tree is to apply mulch around it. Mulches are materials, including wood chips and shredded bark, placed over the soil surface to help conserve moisture, improve soil conditions, and even protect the tree. A layer of mulch 3-4 inches deep, but not touching the trunk, should be applied as broadly as practical around the tree.
When conditions are this dry, it takes some time for water to penetrate. Short, hard rains fall so fast the water doesn't soak into the soil. We need measurable or soaking rain to give our trees the moisture they need. Until we get that kind of rain, it's up to us to water our trees so they can continue to benefit us.