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Properly water trees during the dry season

Advice from Portland Parks & Recreation


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Watering newly planted trees is vital for successful growth. The dry period lasting more than a month, coupled with recent hot temperatures, means many recently planted trees may not be getting enough water on their own, according to Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry division.

“It’s important to get out and water new trees during the dry season,” said Jenn Cairo, Portland Parks & Recreation urban forester. “Good watering practices increase the trees’ chances of survival and helps with vigorous, well-formed root development so that the trees will be around and beautiful for years to come.”

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry offers these tips:

n Newly planted trees generally need about 10 to 30 gallons of water each week in dry conditions. Healthy, mature trees generally don’t need to be watered. Watering in the rainy winter is not necessary.

n Watering for three to six minutes with a hose will produce about 15 to 30 gallons per tree. Watering tubes and 5-gallon buckets with holes in the bottom that are placed next to the tree trunk are other ways to deliver water to your tree.

n Although it is possible to overwater a new tree, in a dry Portland summer, it’s pretty hard to do. When in doubt, water.

n If water starts to run off the surface, water at a slower rate, water on the other side of the tree, or loosen up any hard surface on the soil so water can percolate into the ground.

n Watering a tree deeply about once a week is generally better than giving a shallow watering more often. Deep watering encourages deeper root growth, which in turn creates stronger trees.

n It can take up to five years for a newly planted tree to establish itself in its new environment. Good watering practices during the establishment period are important to the tree’s survival.

n When watering, take advantage of the looser, wet soil and pull up the weeds and grass from around your trees. You can also add mulch around the tree.

For more information, call 503-823-5300 or visit portlandparks.org.




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