Water-wise Tree Care

We all know we can't live without water, but our trees are precious resources too.  They add a sense of maturity to our neighborhoods, absorb pollution from the air, can improve property values, provide shade from the summer heat, act as a carbon sink.  It's tempting though to neglect them in our efforts to conserve water.    It IS possible to care for our trees without wasting water.

Why are trees important in our gardens and neighborhoods?

  • Properly planted and well-maintained trees can increase a home's resale value by as much as 15% (The National Arbor Day Foundation).
  • Well-positioned trees that shade a home can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 5% (American Public Power Association).
  • Trees improve neighborhood appeal and can provide privacy.

Why should we water our trees?

You just read that trees provide us with several benefits.  The more mature a tree becomes, the greater its benefits and the more expensive it becomes to replace it.  Like any investment, a tree needs attention and management and this may mean watering especially if there has been less than average rainfall in the winter.

How much do we need to water our trees?

Well, that depends!  The amount of water a tree needs depends on several things:

the species: what kind of tree is it?

its age: young trees need more water than mature trees.

the soil: what kind of soil do you have?

the location: where do you live?  A tree in the East Bay, for example, will need more water than the same kind on the coast.

How can I water my trees efficiently?

Supply your trees with only the amount of water they're using.

Don't use overhead sprinklers.  Use drip or low-flow bubblers.

Watch for leaks in your irrigation system and repair them promptly.

If possible, put trees on their own watering zone.