Monday, July 25, 2005

Keep your trees happy

They're big and tall and strong. Sometimes we forget they need special care during dry seasons like this one.
We’re talking about trees. There are some simple ways you can keep the trees growing in your garden happy, despite the drought.
"It's relatively easy to replace your lawn, but the trees have been in there for tens of years," said Tim Johnson of Chicago Botanic Garden.
Losing a tree would be like losing an old friend. During the drought, you want to take steps to ease that old friend’s pain.
First and foremost, water is key.
"One thorough soaking every couple of weeks, water it down about a foot,” Johnson said. “You want to apply water deeply, at least a couple of hours with a sprinkler.”
And there are other ways to keep trees from being thirsty – a “gator bag.”

"It's a plastic bag you fill with water and put around the base of a tree. It's got emitters on it so it slowly releases the water and soaks in deeply. Fill the bag and walk away,” Johnson said.
You can also create a variation on your regular garden hose with a “leaky hose.”

"This will emit water all around. Just clamp it to your garden hose, put on the water and walk away," Johnson said.
Mulch is a great way to conserve water in the soil but don’t over to it.

"It's kinda like laundry detergent, more is not necessarily better. For trees and shrubs mulch about two inches away from the base," Johnson said.

Finally, do not get discouraged.

"The time you spend watering... will pay off as things change,” he said. “The weather will change. This is Chicagoland.”

Johnson says if you have evergreen trees, make sure you water at the base of the trees, where the roots are; that is the only way to make sure the tree will benefit from the moisture.

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