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Posted on: July 9, 2018

City of Stevens Point Street Tree Watering

It has been hot and dry lately, and trees around Stevens Point are showing signs of stress (wilting or dropping leaves). The Stevens Point Forestry Dept. does water some City-owned trees, but any watering property owners provide is needed and appreciated.

Photo of Watering Trees

Trees are not just nice to sit under on a hot day, they are very beneficial to a community in many ways. A shaded house doesn't need as much air conditioning. Trees bolster property values - "Has mature trees" is one of Realtors' favorite expressions. Trees are good for air and water quality because they filter out harmful pollutants that would otherwise wash into our streams and rivers or be inhaled into our lungs.

The City of Stevens Point asks residents to remember to water City street trees in front of their homes when they are watering other trees on their property. This is especially important for recently-planted trees during dry times like we are experiencing now.

Dry conditions make trees more susceptible to disease or attacks from insects. We need, but haven't had, a measurable rain or a soaking rain. When rain comes fast, it runs off the soil instead of soaking in. When conditions are this dry, it takes some time for water to penetrate.

Soak the soil beneath the tree out to the outermost ends of the branches for an hour or so every week.  You may not have to water smaller, younger trees
as long but, during hot days, you may have to water them more often.

For example, if you have a two-inch diameter street tree out in front of your home, the tree would need about twenty gallons of water every 5-7 days. This would cost you about four cents per watering.

How to Water your Trees

Trees that are less than three years old need at least 20 gallons of water (about an inch of rainfall) per week to survive. Dry conditions can quickly zap the life out of trees, especially those that are newly planted.
  • Water your trees in the evening after 9 p.m., or in the morning before 7 a.m. to prevent evaporation and water usage during peak times.

  • For small trees, fill a 5-gallon bucket four times and slowly pour water around the base of your tree at least once a week. Or, poke 2-4 small holes towards the bottom of the bucket on the sides and let the water slowly drip out. Tree-gators, which can hold 20 gallons of water and slowly let is seep into the ground, can be purchased at garden centers.

  • Or, position your hose at the base of your tree set on trickle for one hour to get the recommended twenty gallons at least once a week. During dry times like we are currently experiencing, watering twice a week is better. 

  • For larger, mature trees or trees with visible signs of stress (loss of leaves or yellowing foliage), use a water-conserving drip hose around the drip lines of your trees, watering very gradually once a week for a 24-hour period.

Applying mulch around your tree is another practice homeowners can perform to help their trees. It is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your tree. Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to help conserve moisture, improve soil conditions, and even protect the tree. Wood chips and shredded bark are examples of mulch.

A layer of mulch 3 – 4 inches deep, but not touching your the trunk should be applied as broadly as practical around the tree.

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City of Wonderful Water
City of Stevens Point, 1515 Strongs Ave., Stevens Point, WI 54481 | Phone 715-346-1569