How To Help Your Trees When There's So Little Rain

How To Help Your Trees When There’s So Little Rain

There’s a chance of showers today (Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020), but with that exception, the National Weather Service Chicago is showing a string of sunny days in this week’s forecast.

And that’s on top of a long string of sunny days that has turned a lot of lawns brown and put stress on trees and gardens throughout Kane County.

Here’s some advice — in her own words, of course — from Pam Otto, naturalist and St. Charles Park District outreach ambassador, on what you can do to protect trees that are under your care.

Tree Care in Drought Times

Droughts are a drag, aren’t they?

This one has gone on longer than we’d like, but the good news is it shouldn’t be a problem for healthy, mature, native trees.

Those are three key qualifiers, though, and not every tree is going to meet all of them.

If you’ve got particular trees that you’re worried about — and not on a well that you’re also worried about — go ahead and water them.

Soak along the drip line to get the best results and most efficient use of water.

But rather than running a hose at the base, use one of those soaker hoses laid out a ways from the trunk in a circle. Aim for the drip line, which is where the water would naturally drop from the branches during a rain.

You could also use a sprinkler set very low so as to not waste water getting the trunk and leaves wet, or run a hose at a low flow rate and move it around the drip line. The idea is a slow soaking that will mimic a nice 1-inch rainfall.

Once a week for a healthy tree should be fine.

The other question is whether the tree has been mulched. If not, it won’t do much good now as the soil is so dry. But you might want to consider it for the future.

You’ve probably heard about the evils of “volcano” mulching, but in case not, here’s what our friends at the Morton Arboretum have to say.

Thanks for asking!

Now let’s all do a little rain dance …

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