Tree Watering in Grass

Asked July 24, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT

I have several Linden trees (Douglas County Colorado) that are surounded by grass that is watered twice a week. The trees have been there for 3 years and have never done well. They are pretty stressed. Would it be benificial to add drip watering that could provide 10 gallons per inch of tree once a week or would the combined watering be too much. What is the best solution to have these trees remain healthy? I may need to replace them but I am hesitant if the new trees would have the same fate as the original trees. Hand watering each week is not practical due to the the location of the trees. thanks Brian

Douglas County Colorado trees and shrubs

3 Responses

Brian,
The linden trees planted in your lawn may not have gotten the needed irrigation during their establishment, as they usually require daily watering at the start. This can mean their root systems have not developed. We will include two links for your information: http:www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/635.html
and http:www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1734.html
Note in the latter article it recommends not using lawn fertilizer near linden trees.
We would recommend measuring irrigation at the site of the trees and increasing watering accordingly to encourage root growth.

The article about watering new trees was excellent and I will follow the recommendations on any new trees. Like the article implied, the new trees were not watered frequently enough the first year so the roots never develoved.

I am confused on your response of: increasing watering accordingly to encourage root growth on the existing trees. The grass receives about 0.5 inches of water twice a week. How much should that be increased to provide adequate water to a 3 inch tree? Would drip watering in addition to the grass watering be a better solution? Should they receive 10 gal/per inch of tree in addition to the grass watering? Should the exisiting 3 year old trees be pronunced dead and replaced? Should I water the existing trees 3 or 4 times a week for the next year to get the roots to develop? I have attached a photo for reference. thanks Brian

Here is a good source of information for estimating the amount of water that your trees need. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/04702.htmlTrees can do well on turf irrigation but drip irrigation is often used for establishing trees. The recommendation for drip irrigation of 10 gallons/week/tree diameter in inches, should be fine for your 3" diameter trees. Because of the location of the trees near sidewalks and the street you could add drip irrigation in addition to the turf irrigation, as long as turf irrigation is low, such as you mentioned, at 0.5"/twice a week. The photo of your 3 year old tree is discouraging. Pruning out the dead material may result in an unattractive tree shape, so removal and replacement may be a good choice. The above referenced article describes frequency, emitters, and amount of water to deliver using a drip irrigation.