Licensed & Insured ISA Certified Arborists (PN-8224A)
Portland, Oregon
18 May 2018

Why Deep Watering is Necessary in Your Yard

Over the years, we have heard of a lot of different tree care fads – from rubbing essential oils on your tree (can be effective) to talking to your trees (probably not great for them, but good for you). So, how can you tell when one fad is effective and one isn’t?

Have you heard about the hottest tree care fad, deep watering? It is a query that pops up more and more as we get toward the summer months. This isn’t really a unique concept, but it has popped up on online resources like Facebook and Pinterest, so a lot of people want to know more about it. Deep watering, or deep root watering, gives your tree the kind of watering that it certainly needs, even more so during the summer months when it is very hot and Mother Nature doesn’t deliver on the rain.

These are the times when your trees are withered and are displaying signs that they may possibly need some support, but you can’t necessarily read them. By the time you can look at them, it is typically too late and you have to do something more than just water them.

Still, there are a number of things you need to realize about deep watering before you do it.

4. How Deep The Water Actually Goes

irrigation system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • The roots receive the water, not the leaves
  • 12″ to 18″ deep, depending on the plant
  • Some gardens might not really need it that deep, some require deeper

When you water your plants consistently, you likely allow your hose to spray some water onto the leaves of your plants and the soil all around the plants. Having said that, most plants don’t have leaves or stems that can consume the water. Instead, it has to make its way into the soil and ultimately get to the root system.

The problem is that, when it is sweltering outside, the water vanishes almost immediately and ends up not getting to the plants. According to Slate, this is why many plants and trees still die, even if you have already watered them often. It is also why people think they are overwatering their plants.

The reality is that they aren’t watering them carefully. Deep watering goes deeper into the dirt so that the roots get the water.

3. Use a Soaker For More Convenient Watering

old fashioned irrigation in green grass
Credit: USDA
  • Good for people who aren’t home all the time
  • Can be DIY ‘d by a number of people
  • Do not over water with this technique

Don’t like to be out in the scorching sunlight all the time? You aren’t by yourself, and that is why there are so many possibilities for ways to water your gardens and lawn that don’t mandate you to remain outside for too long. If this sounds like you, you might want to invest in a soaker hose or soaker system. A soaker hose is simply an addition to your basic garden hose. This add-on has perforations every so often, holes that are much smaller than a hose entrance, but still substantial enough to let out water. Once you install this onto your hose, you can then situate it throughout your flower gardens and set up it where you need it to be. This works really well, but, according to the DIY Network, you can make your own so you get a definite direction of where the water goes.

These still use a bit of water, but they are deemed to be better than the conventional sprinkler systems because they put the water exactly where it needs to be, not up into the atmosphere before anything else.

This type of system is great for people who don’t or can’t take care of their yards, people who are regularly away from their properties, and those who simply have too much to keep up with when it comes to taking care of their yards.

2. Trees and Bushes Should Be Watered Deeply

watering system
Credit: Ian Sane
  • Tree branches tend to go deep
  • They will also spread far and wide around the tree
  • Trees are the most vulnerable in a drought

According to the Morton Arboretum, “There is no reason to water the leaves of a plant. Water the soil, where the roots are. The Arboretum recommends watering within the drip line of a tree, from the trunk out to the end of the branches, to reach the roots most effectively. The water-absorbing roots are within the top two feet of soil; you want to keep these roots moist but not wet.”

This is why it is so essential to deep water your trees and bushes. These are some of the most defenseless parts of your yard and they also tend to be the worst to water. They are probably the ones that need the most water too because their deep roots often don’t get the water that you do use– plants and weeds will get it first. During the hottest part of the summer, they are extremely susceptible.

You don’t want to utterly soak the ground so that the dirt starts to move, but you do want to do some deep watering.

1. It Isn’t Necessary for All Plants

Watering system
Credit: Kevin Dooley
  • Deep watering won’t work for plants with shallower roots
  • Most won’t be damaged by it either
  • Helpful for annuals and bigger plants

One normal misstep that people make is that they assume that deep watering will work for all of the plants in their yard– this isn’t legitimate. In fact, perennials and vegetables don’t need deep watering because they do not have roots that go too deep into the earth, according to Gardeners. Instead, their root systems are closer to the top. You will want to spend maybe a couple seconds more over them with the hose, but you don’t really need to look into deep watering at all.

As always, you want to look at your plants to see if there are marks of over watering or under watering.

In fact, the best technique here is to hand water your perennials and vegetables so that you know exactly how much water they are getting at any given time.

At times, it can seem silly to think so much about watering your trees. However, they do need it and you have a responsibility to take care of them.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance and watering possibilities, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Sheila Sund on Flickr!
16 Apr 2018

Tree Care Tool Kit: The 5 Tools You Absolutely Need

As a homeowner, there will be times when you want to take the care of your trees into your own hands. While it might seem strange, we understand that – you want to be able to do some things by yourself. It is important to remember that tree care is dangerous and you do want to call a professional for some of the bigger jobs. Still, there are some things you can do by yourself.

Doing some basic maintenance to your trees helps you to better understand them and know when there is something you might need help handling.

However, you do have to make sure that you are using your tools properly, storing them properly, and only using them for what they were intended to do.

So what are some of the tools that should be in your shed? Here are a few:

5. Hand Pruners

Hand pruners
Credit: Thomas
  • Help with basic maintenance
  • Be careful when using them – use eye protection
  • Make sure to clean pruners regularly

Per Garden Products Review, “Pruners (also called clippers, pruning shears, or secateurs) are used to trim and shape plants, deadhead, prune out dead or damaged foliage and small branches, and cut back perennials. They’re one of the most-used gardening tools so it’s important to get a pair that works best for you.”

It might come as a surprise, but you shouldn’t prune your bigger trees. Instead, you can use it to keep up with some routine maintenance on your plants and bushes, especially vegetable plants. You don’t want to cut anything that is thicker than an inch, or you will be doing too much damage.

You have to be extremely judicious with your cutting, and this definitely isn’t something you can do to actually prune your tree, but it can help with maintenance between professional sessions.

4. Wheelbarrow

Credit: Seabamirum
  • Never goes out of style
  • Helps with all jobs
  • Inspires you to work

What is one of your tools actually encouraged you to do the work? That is what wheelbarrows do. They make most jobs so much easier, even jobs that have nothing to do with trees. Still, from clearing out the leaves from around the base of the tree to picking up after a storm, having a wheelbarrow will make all jobs much, much easier.

One of the reasons you may want a wheelbarrow is because they have been a standard in all tool sheds for years – they go back to about 1220 AD, and the the first wheelbarrows may have had sails, and you have probably used an older one that is still good.

You may want to do some research and purchase your wheelbarrow in person so that you can really get one that fits your style.

3. Sprinkler or Hose

Credit: Brittany Girl 94
  • Regular watering helps trees
  • Can be used throughout the year
  • Timed systems are helpful

When you have trees that are watered, you have happy trees. One of the most important tools that you can use is a sprinkler or hose. When you have a summer with little precipitation, winters where the ground freezes, or just times when everything looks a little parched, a hose comes in handy.

While most of us have hoses in our yards, few people actually have the right kinds of hoses. The Home Depot has a great guide to buying a garden hose that is really great at helping you choose the right one. Remember that everyone has different needs, but you should be able to find a hose that you enjoy using.

2. Rakes

Credit: Shelton Dunning
  • Useful in many parts of your yard
  • Leaf blowers won’t always do the job
  • Help to keep your gardens clear

According to The Seattle Times“Among landscaping rakes, metal bow rakes are used for moving soil around the garden, mounding dirt to create raised beds, picking up garden debris and tamping the soil. The sharp steel points can dig too deeply into a lawn, however, and, when used to rake leaves, those same points spear the leaves and get clogged easily.”

A rake is another somewhat primitive tool, but sometimes those are the best ones. Many people have moved on from the rake to the leaf blower, but a rake does many things that a leaf blower never will be able to do. A rake forces you to get some physical exercise and get closer to your trees. Use it to clear the base of your tree and allow your roots to get some air and water..

1. Flashlights

Credit: David DeHetre
  • Help check out damage after storms
  • Use the light to inspect trees
  • Can help to chase pests away

Another somewhat strange suggestion, but something that you absolutely need, is a flashlight with a fairly long reach. You can use a flashlight to help you inspect your trees from afar, which can be helpful if you are looking at storm damage or you think there is an animal in your tree. You can even use that light to scare animals out of your trees.

Now, for actual tree care, you can use a flashlight to look into the tree when there is a lot of foliage or densely populated branches, because it can be difficult to see when there isn’t any light. This can be extremely helpful when you are looking for diseases or infestations.

According to The Flashlight Guide, you should get a flashlight that has an LED bulb so that you can see the true colors on your tree. If you use an older one, everything takes on a more yellow tint, which can make it hard to spot any problems.

Tree care is difficult, and it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself. For daily maintenance, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Abby Lanes on Flickr!