by Wolfgang Flüs
Do we really have to water our trees? The rain is responsible for that. In principle, that is correct. But our earth has been suffering from long dry periods for many years. This means that the rain stays out too long and our trees die of thirst without support.
It is therefore important that we help our trees and, by watering them properly, give them a refreshing tree bath. But what types of irrigation are there? How do trees store water and how are they properly watered? You can find the answers here.
Why do we really need to water our trees?
Due to climate change, there are increasingly long periods of heat and drought. This means that there is no rain for a long time, the ground becomes extremely dry and our trees are very thirsty. This so-called Drought stress can ultimately lead to tree death.
You can recognize drought stress, for example, by withered leaves, premature leaf fall or dying branches. At the latest, you will notice that your tree urgently needs water.
You can find more about the causes and consequences of climate change in a separate article: Climate change - the greatest challenge of our time
How exactly does a tree absorb water?
Our trees can drink by absorbing water through their roots. This water is then transported from the roots through the trunk and branches to the leaves. The roots of our trees extend differently far and deep under the ground.
Here we differentiate between shallow roots, deep roots and heart roots. The root system of the Shallow roots is, as the name suggests, very flat under the earth. The water uptake takes place mainly via the surface water, which seeps through the earth.
The roots of the Deep roots are grown very deep in the ground. The water is mainly absorbed from the deeper regions, as a main root drifts towards the groundwater.
Heart root in turn combine both skills. Some of the roots grow diagonally downwards and can branch out sideways at the same time and therefore absorb the water in different ways.
How do trees store water?
Similar to us humans, the trees store water in every single cell. The water supply is in the roots, in the trunk, in the branches, in the leaves and also in the fruits. The bigger the tree is and the more leaves, needles or fruits it has, the more water it can store. When this reservoir is fully filled, our trees can survive for a long time without an additional water supply.
Due to the long dry periods in recent years, the trees' water reservoirs are being used up and a natural water supply is no longer possible. If the memories are empty, the tree goes into an emergency mode. The leaves dry up, are thrown off and the whole tree dries up.
Watering trees - an overview of the various irrigation methods
We can support our trees with different irrigation options to quench their thirst. There is no wrong or no right way to do this. Every single drop of water helps the trees. However, there is a special watering method that you can use to support your tree particularly well.
The garden hose and the watering can
Watering can and garden hose are the classic methods of watering trees. You can use tap water or rainwater collected from the rain barrel for this. For the tree, however, watering with a hose or watering can means a real flood of water at once. The water drains away so quickly that the roots hardly have the opportunity to absorb it. Just imagine that you are very thirsty. Then someone pours a bucket full of water over your head. Can you drink enough of it in this short time that your thirst is quenched?
With the garden hose, you never know how much water you have supplied the tree with.
The drip irrigation
To properly water trees, we recommend drip irrigation. By this you can understand a form of long-term irrigation. Here, small amounts of water are evenly released to the roots through small openings on watering bags, hoses or pipes. This type of irrigation is possible both above and below ground.
Drip irrigation has the advantage that the roots get enough time to absorb the water and thus supply the whole tree. At the same time, thanks to the watering bag, you always know exactly how much water your tree is being supplied with. Water should not be wasted, especially because of the increasing drought.
You can find a lot more information about drip irrigation in the separate article: "The drip irrigation in detail"
Sprinkling as a watering method
By sprinkling you can understand the open spraying of water over a large area. With this type of irrigation, the water supply in the soil can be optimized so that the roots are supplied with water even during a dry season.
As mentioned earlier, any kind of support for trees is helpful. When sprinkling, however, there is a high level of evaporation loss of the water, especially at warm temperatures.
How much water should you water trees with?
The amount of water always depends on the size and location of the tree. A medium-sized tree around 5 - 6 years old will be happy about 150 - 200 liters of water per watering process. This corresponds to about 2 - 3 filling quantities of a 75 liter irrigation bag.
How often should you water trees?
Trees especially need support when it is very hot and dry for a long period of time. The best way to help the trees is to give them a tree bath about twice a week. This feels much better for the tree than supplying it with a small amount of water every day.
It is ideal if the trees are watered in the evening or in the morning.
Our watering recommendation: drip irrigation
In the opinion of our group of experts, drip irrigation is really best for watering trees in the best possible way. Other casting methods are always well-intentioned and also help a little. However, too much water is usually lost or does not even reach the roots.
The watering bags are designed in such a way that the water is delivered drop by drop to the roots. So it arrives where it is needed in a quantity that is comfortable for the tree.