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Jul 26

City arborist offers tips for drought-time tree care

Posted on July 26, 2015 at 10:13 am by Clay Curtin

You can assist in preserving Menlo Park’s Tree City USA heritage this summer by helping your trees avoid long-term drought damage using these simple guidelines for tree care. Water mature trees once a month by irrigating near the edge of the tree canopy (drip line) at a low flow rate for a long duration to allow water to infiltrate down at least 18”-24” deep into the soil (Rule of thumb - use 10 gallons per 1 inch of trunk diameter). For young trees not yet established, water every 3-5 days within the drip line and check the moisture level of the soil at least 2” down to ensure you’re not overwatering. The use of drip irrigation and bubblers can offer efficient watering; additionally a simple soaker hose found at any garden center can be just as effective and provide the extra flexibility of moving irrigation easily where it’s needed. Trees both young and old will benefit from adding a thick (2”-4”) layer of wood chip mulch as ground cover in the area under the drip line, which works to help conserve soil moisture, moderate temperatures and improve soil health.