Have you ever found that some trees dry out a lot faster than others this time of year? It happens a lot in my garden, on old trees and young trees alike.
One thing that can cause this is not watering thoroughly. Sometimes, I’ll water a tree three or four times only to dig down in the soil and find that the core is still dry. When this happens, it’s time to get out a water basin and soak the rootball.
Here are two pines growing in colanders. I can tell by the weight of the trees that the soil is dry. They are good candidates for a soak.
Young pines in need of a good watering
I’ll water the trees by setting them in a basin and filling it with water just below the lip of the pot (filling it higher will cause the pumice to float away).
Dry tree in the basin
After five-to-fifteen minutes of soaking, I can usually see signs that the soil is saturated.
Wet akadama on the surface of the soil
I’ll leave the trees in the water for as long as it takes to ensure the rootball is saturated. If I check after fifteen minutes and find dry soil in the core, I’ll let the tree soak some more or pierce the soil with a pick to help the water penetrate.
Even if I’m watering dozens of trees, I find it goes quickly as long as I’m working on something else in the meantime. Every time I walk by the basin, I pick up the wet trees and return them to the bench where I find more trees in need of watering.
A good time to do this is right ahead of a warm spell. If you know that the temperatures are about to rise and there’s a chance some of the rootballs in the garden are dry, it could be time to give those trees a good soak.
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