watering a new tree

In Burbank, California, the heatwave coupled with water scarcity presents unique challenges to maintaining tree health. This guide dives deep into understanding your trees’ needs and provides actionable, expert-backed strategies to keep your trees thriving amidst extreme weather conditions.

Key Takeaways:

Assessing Your Tree’s Water Needs

Determining if your tree needs water involves assessing the soil’s moisture content. Use a soil moisture probe, available at garden centers, for a more accurate reading than the screwdriver test. Insert the probe 6-8 inches into the ground, near the tree’s drip line, not at its base. A dry reading signals watering time.

Different tree species have varying water needs. For instance, Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) and Valley Oaks (Quercus lobata) are adapted to California’s dry summers and require less frequent watering than others. Check out our arborist’s guide on the most common tree types in Burbank.

Young trees, regardless of species, need more frequent watering—usually once or twice a week, depending on heat levels. On the other hand, established trees should be watered less frequently, approximately once or twice a month.

Effective Watering Techniques

woman watering trees and plants
Woman watering plants and trees in garden , view from back

The ‘soak and cycle’ method is a well-established technique among arborists. This method involves watering the soil around your tree until it reaches its saturation point, pausing to let the water soak in, and repeating. This ensures deep penetration, promoting root growth towards the moisture.

Choosing the right watering equipment also matters. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems are excellent options as they deliver water directly to the soil, reducing evaporation and promoting deep watering.

Timing is Key

To further prevent water loss through evaporation, time your watering for early morning or late evening. Adhering to the City of Burbank Parks and Recreation’s advice: water your trees only before 9:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m.

Seasonally, most trees require more water during the growing season (spring and early summer) and less in dormant periods (late summer and fall). During extreme heat, however, even dormant or slow-growing trees may need supplemental water.

The Benefits of Mulching

Mulch serves multiple purposes: it conserves soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, and adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.

When choosing mulch, opt for organic materials like wood chips, leaves, or compost. Apply a 4-inch layer around the tree, maintaining a 6-inch gap from the tree’s trunk to prevent rot and pest infestation.

Residents of Burbank can avail themselves of the city’s free mulch program. It’s an excellent resource for maintaining tree health during extreme heat conditions.

Local Resources for Tree Care

Alongside the mulch program, Burbank provides additional services for tree care. If you’re unsure about the health of your trees, professional arborist services offer consultations, pruning, removal, and more.

For palm tree owners, consider referring to our comprehensive guide on safe palm tree pruning techniques.

Wrapping Up

Extreme heat and drought conditions don’t spell the end for your trees. Understanding the specific water needs of your trees, implementing effective watering strategies, and utilizing local resources can help maintain your trees’ health. Remember, every tree is unique; observe your trees and adjust your care routine as needed. We’re here to assist you in navigating these challenging conditions and maintaining Burbank’s urban forest.