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Water Wise

Public Works  |  317 N. Belt Line  |  P.O. Box 534045  |  Grand Prairie, TX 75053-4045
Phone  972-237-8377|  Fax  972-237-8396| E-mail 

Your trees are very valuable, follow the simple directions below to help your trees to survive this extreme drought.

Should I water my tree?

Texas is in one of the worst droughts in state history. If you have a tree in your yard, it’s likely stressed from the drought. Protect your trees by watering now. A couple of dollars worth of water right now can protect your tree investment.

When should I water?

If you can, avoid watering during the hottest part of the day (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). In compliance with the city of Grand Prairie's mandatory water restrictions, you may use soaker hoses or drip irrigation any day but no longer than two hours per day.

What should I not do in a drought?

Don’t apply high-salt, quick release fertilizers or dig under the canopy of a tree in a severe drought. Don’t prune live branches off young trees just because of drought. The tree may need these branches when the rains return.

Where can I get more information about the care of my tree?

Contact a local ISA Certified Arborist at www.isatexas.com or check out the Texas Forest Service website for more tree and drought related information.

What are the best ways to water my valuable, larger yard tree?

See the pictures and instructions below for:
Garden Hose and Soaker Hose: These are the preferred methods, especially if you have watering restrictions.
Garden Hose Sprinkler: This is the fastest way to water larger areas. Review current water restrictions before using this method.

What if I have in-ground, pop-up automatic sprinklers?

Take a long screwdriver and poke it into the soil under the tree. If it doesn’t go 6” to 8” deep in the soil, give your tree more water with the above methods.

If you use a garden hose:
Test your soil with a screwdriver blade. If it doesn't go into the soil 6 to 8 inches, it's time to deeply water.
Watering trees with garden hose

Turn the faucet on as high as you can – adjust the flow to just before the water starts to run off. This saves you time. Water closer to the trunk first and work your way out from there. Make sure to at least water the area under the canopy.

Watering trees with garden hose Check every half hour until you know how long it takes for water to penetrate the soil to at least 6 to 8 inches deep.
Watering trees with garden hose
Watering trees with garden hose

Once the screwdriver goes in at least 6 to 8 inches, note how long it took to water that spot. Keep moving the hose under the canopy of the tree until it is all watered.
Repeat every week during a severe drought.
Use the 6 to 8 inch screwdriver test to see if you need to re-water.

If you use a soaker hose:
(may be difficult to find in stores during a drought)
Watering trees with soaker hose

Soaker hoses work best for small to medium sized trees. It is a slow tree watering method.
Test your soil with a screwdriver blade. If it doesn’t go in 6 to 8 inches into the soil it’s time to deeply water.

Watering trees with soaker hose

On some soaker hoses, it can take four hours to put out one inch of water and eight hours for two inches of water.

Follow the directions that came with your soaker hose.

Watering trees with soaker hose

Put out 1 to 2 inches of water under the tree, starting near the trunk. Make sure to at least water the entire area under the canopy.

Watering trees with soaker hose Repeat every week during a severe drought.
Use your 6 to 8 inch screwdriver test to see if you need to re-water.

If you use a sprinkler:
(This is the fastest method to water your tree.)
Watering trees with sprinkler

Test your soil with a screwdriver blade. If it doesn’t go in 6 to 8 inches into the soil it’s time to deeply water.

Watering trees with sprinkler

Put a can out under the sprinkler and water until there is 1 inch of water in the can.
This will take about 30 minutes depending on your sprinkler.
Check your container water levels every 15 minutes or so until you know how long it takes to put out 1 inch of water.

Cat food, tuna fish, soup or vegetable cans can be used to measure the amount of water a hose-end sprinkler puts out.

Watering trees with sprinkler

Once you know how long it takes for your sprinkler to put out 1 inch, just set your timer and keep moving the sprinkler around under the canopy of the tree. Put 1 to 2 inches of water out in each spot.
After a couple of hours, test how deep you have watered by pushing a screwdriver at least 6 to 8 inches deep into the soil. The blade will go in as far as water has penetrated. Water more if it doesn’t go in at least 6 to 8 inches deep.
Repeat weekly in severe drought.
Use the 6 to 8 inch screwdriver test to see if you need to re-water.

 

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Last updated: 8/24/2011 9:45:22 AM