Trees growing on our lawns and gardens depend on rain to thrive. As such, in times of less rain (a typical Phoenix day), the trees use up the moisture stored in soil. This leads to the trees being stressed and predisposed to pests, diseases, and even death. Fortunately, there are several things one can do to maintain the health of these valuable plants to protect them once the monsoon season arrives.
Effective Watering – Make Sure Trees Don’t Dry Out
While many established trees can survive on moisture present in the soil, dry periods often require watering the trees manually and directly, to maintain their health through the monsoon season and year round.
How Does One Know It’s Time to Water the Trees?
To check the soil moisture, just take a long screwdriver (about 8” ) and poke it into the soil. If the screwdriver passes easily into the soil then it is well watered, whereas if the screwdriver has a hard time penetrating the soil, then it’s time to water.
What’s the Best Way to Apply Water?
While overhead sprinklers cover the largest expanses, they are inefficient as they lose as much as 50% of the water to evaporation. You need a constant and steady flow so the tree can soak up the water gradually.
Using an automatic sprinkler system is one of the best methods. Automatic sprinkler systems are an effective way to water trees as they release water gradually and more water is absorbed by the soil. Simply, run it for at least an hour, making sure the soil takes in enough water for a screwdriver to penetrate 6-8 inches so you know the tree was watered enough.
Mulching Can Save Water in the Arid Phoenix Climate
You need to apply a thick layer of mulch on the soil surface around your trees. Mulch acts in the same way as a blanket, protecting the soil from dying out through evaporation. Consequently, you’ll use less water and your trees will stay happy and healthy.
Natural, wood chip mulch is among the ways to save water, while upholding the health of your trees. The mulch should be kept 4 inches away from the trunk and spread 4 feet in diameter. Moreover, be sure to pile it about 6 inches deep.
Pruning to Protect a Tree’s Structure when Monsoons Arrive
Pruning is best done when there is less rain during dryer seasons but can still be done during the monsoon season. During drier times, trees are dormant and their structure is easy to see without the leaves. When done properly, pruning can lengthen the lifespan of the trees and increase their value to the landscape. However, if done poorly, it can lead to a plethora of structural and biological complications, including decay, pests, as well a shorter lifespan for your tree. These types of structural damages weaken trees and can lead to downed trees or fallen branches when the heavy winds and rain of a monsoon hits.
Young trees need a very light pruning, otherwise known as “structural pruning,” Conversely; mature trees are pruned primarily to minimize potential hazards. You should remove only the dead wood and any inappropriately placed or hanging branches. Don’t forget that over-pruning or topping not only weakens trees, but also undermines their long-term health and safety.
Conclusion – Water – Mulch – Prune – Repeat Year round
While there is nothing more splendid than the magnificence and elegance of a well-positioned mature tree, the truth is that even one that seems self-sufficient needs regular professional care for it to remain healthy for years. Regular tree maintenance services are particularly essential to prevent downed trees and branches during heavy winds and rains of Phoenix’s monsoons. If you reside around Phoenix, Arizona, using Victor’s Landscaping, Inc. to install an irrigation system, regularly prune or mulch trees will keep your trees healthy, beautiful and thriving year round. Call us today at 602-633-9575.