• While it’s important to regularly water the trees on your property, it’s equally crucial to use the proper techniques. Photo: Horticultural Services, LTD (2016)

  • Rather than watering a tree's trunk, you should irrigate beneath its drip line, where the water can be directly absorbed by the roots. Photo: Horticultural Services, LTD (2016)

  • To maximize the effectiveness of irrigation, apply a layer of mulch beneath the tree’s drip line. Photo: Horticultural Services, LTD (2016)

Chris Chapman is Owner of Horticultural Services, LTD. To reach Chris Chapman call (925) 388-6963, (510) 747-8940.
Proper Tree Irrigation

ORINDA – Irrigation is crucial for established trees, but in order to be effective, it’s important to follow proper procedure. For example, a common mistake people make with tree irrigation is watering the trunk. Since a tree absorbs water through its roots, watering its trunk doesn’t make much sense. Instead, water should be applied at the outside edge of the tree’s drip line, where the shadow of its canopy is cast upon the ground. It’s also important to provide an adequate amount of water—ideally, the water should soak down about a foot into the soil.

In addition to proper procedure, a great way to maximize the effectiveness of irrigation is to apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch beneath the tree’s drip line. Besides reducing sun and wind evaporation, mulch adds beneficial fungi and bacteria to the soil as it decomposes, which improve tree roots’ ability to absorb water and nutrients. Since mulch decomposes over time, it should be reapplied annually.

Chris Chapman is a 21-year veteran of the tree service industry and owner of Horticultural Services, LTD, a Diamond Certified company since 2005. He can be reached at (925) 388-6963 or by email.

Expert Profile and Additional contributions from Chris Chapman

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