Trees need extra water

06_tree_2367CITY TREE PLANTING  — City crew Dru Gunderson and John Calahan plant a Greenspirer Linden tree in the Jaycee Park on the east side of town on Thursday morning. The city put in 12 new trees in all, six at the Jaycee Park and six others in Legion Park in what is an ongoing beautification program of the city. I-O Photo Editor Buck Traxler






By Dan Picard, Pondera County Extension Agent

Area homeowners have probably been noticing that their lawns are brown or the grass is not growing well around the evergreen trees.

I have checked a number of lawns in Conrad and Valier and in those areas around the trees the soil is dry.

Trees that are dry are put under stress and will lose needles or leaves and will be more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Tree owners are advised to water their evergreens and larger trees in the drip line with a soaker hose or a similar system that allows the water to go down at least 18 inches.

You can check your soil moisture by pushing a 1/4 or 3/8 metal rod into the ground after watering.  We shouldn’t rely on the lawn sprinkler system to apply enough water to bring the soil in the tree root zone to an adequate level.  Lawns only need to be watered to about a six inch depth.


On average, the trees should be watered with an extra inch or two of water three times a month over what is applied to the turfgrass.


All woody plants need adequate water from early spring through August.  In the fall, allow plants to harden off by gradually withholding water from September through mid-November.  Prior to ground freezing apply enough water to reach and saturate the root area.  This will help prevent winter kill.

For more information concerning yard and garden water management contact the MSU Pondera County Extension Office at 271-4054.