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Soaker Hoses, Irrigation Systems, and Treegators, Oh My!

3 ways to set your watering to autopilot.

Continually monitoring your trees for stress can be a tedious job, but consistent watering is the foundation of healthy plants. If you don’t have time to water your plants every 2-3 days in the summer heat, you might want to consider one of these options instead.

Soaker Hoses

Soaker hoses are perforated garden hoses that are installed just on top of the soil, but underneath a few inches of mulch to prevent evaporation. There are many benefits to using soaker hoses, they:

  • Release water very slowly, allowing it to soak deeply into the soil. This helps prevent roots from growing too close to the surface.
  • Do not get water on the leaves of plants, which can sometimes cause fungal growth and other diseases.
  • Can be hooked up to a garden timer and flow meter. This conserves water and maintains a consistent schedule.
  • Are unobtrusive and affordable.

Irrigation Systems

Irrigation systems are long-term solutions for watering trees and shrubs. They are usually installed by professionals but need very little maintenance once established. These systems are different from soaker hoses because the pipe used is more rigid and buried beneath the soil. Some traditional systems include sprinklers, but since we’ve already talked about why sprinklers are problematic, you can design a system that only uses drips holes and nozzles. Here are a few benefits of an irrigation system:

  • Delivers water directly to the roots.
  • Reduces soil compaction. Unlike a garden hose, where the water hits the surface, an irrigation system has pipes that are buried and deliver water underground putting less downward pressure on the top soil and mulch.
  • Can be hooked up to a garden timer and flow meter. This conserves water and maintains a consistent schedule.
  • Are unobtrusive and affordable.

Treegators or tree bags

Tree Gators or tree bags are slow-release watering bags that you place at the base of a tree. These are ideal for newly planted trees and include the following benefits, they:

  • Are easy to maintain and install. Just place around a tree and fill. The only thing to remember is that you need to fill them at least once a week.
  • Continuously water trees throughout the day.
  • Do not get water on the leaves of plants.
  • Are reusable, affordable, and can be removed during dormant seasons.
  • Promote deep root growth.

Bonus: Deep Root Irrigation

In cases of extreme drought, there are instances when a tree might need deep root irrigation. This requires a specialized, high-pressure water gun, which means this treatment can only be done by a professional; however, it might be the only option to prevent a stressed tree from dying. The benefits of this process include:

  • Water is delivered directly to the roots instead of waiting for it to seep through the ground so that you know precisely how much water your tree is getting.
  • Uses less water because you don’t have to account for evaporation.
  • Works very quickly.

All of these approaches follow the fundamentals of watering. These techniques apply water directly in the root zone, they don’t spray water on the trunk or canopy, and they allow for slow, deep watering. But the most significant benefit is convenience. Once you set them up or hire a professional to manage the care of them, you don’t have to think about watering as often. Instead, you can enjoy the beauty and magnificence of your trees and shrubs.

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