A few days ago, as I walked in my garden, I saw 20+ year old cherry trees with grayish curled leaves and it prompted me to give them some extra love for all the things they do for us. They enhance our surroundings. They are a wildlife refuge.
Each year the birds flock to the upper branches and eat all the fruit we cannot reach. They have also become a playground for any visiting children. I have several photos of my grandchildren at different times of the year up in the lower limbs of one of those trees.
They are a cool sanctuary of shade on an intensely hot day. We often sit in the shade of these beautiful trees we planted so many years ago. Yesterday I realized how much I have grown to appreciate these beauties and I decided to take some extra time and soak them with love for all they give to me and my family.
Please let this be a reminder to deep water your trees and give them a little extra TLC, since it has been so dry out. A deep root watering now could mean the difference between life and death of your beloved trees you have planted.
A quick walk around to inspect the leaves will show you if any of your trees are struggling and need extra water at this time. The leaves will show you by curling or wilting or changing color. A tree with any of these signs should be deep watered immediately.
In order to prevent this kind of visual distress you should preventively deep water all of your valuable trees to keep them from getting to the point of showing you they are thirsty.
A good rule for trees is to deep root water them a few times each season. One deep watering in spring after the long winter of having no irrigation except for what Mother Nature provides is usually a good start to the growing season to ensure they have adequate moisture to grow.
A second mid-summer soaking would be next to sustaining them through the multiple days in the 90s we experience each summer. The last good extra dose of deep root watering would be now, around Labor Day if it has been an extra dry summer. One last shot of TLC right before they go into winter would be advised, as we never know how much moisture they will get from Nature.
Many folks have their trees on irrigation and may not feel they need to go this extra mile for their trees, since they have sprinklers or drip.
In this case, I would advise you to make sure to at least check the amount of moisture they are actually getting by digging down carefully in the root zone to a depth of at least 8 inches and seeing if the moisture has made it down that far.
Sometimes we think we are saturating to a sufficient depth, when really we are just keeping them barely alive because we are just wetting the surface.
One thing everyone can do for their trees is keep an area around the base free from weeds and grass that would compete with the tree for water and nutrients.
You can add mulch to keep moisture levels in the soil constant and keep weeds out. This mulch will also be an insulator from the cold in the winter.
Trees enhance our lives. I believe we tend to take them for granted and just expect them to grow and flourish with little or no care on our part. Amazingly, most will do quite well without any extra attention at all. B
ut, just imagine life without these natural wonders and then show your gratitude by taking a little time to ensure that they THRIVE! They will reward you for years to come.
By Jodee Fyfe,
Owner of Westwood Gardens Nursery in Rathdrum.