Watering is an extremely important factor in plant health. Trees and lawns require different levels of treatment, so please read the following sections.
Watering lawns can be tricky, but the main goal is to saturate the soil. Roots will only be in the top 2-3 inches, but different soil types can make watering requirements different in each location. Normally, lawns will require 0.5 to 1.5 inches of water each week. Each scenario requires differing applications however. Different irrigation systems and atmospheric conditions will cause variable levels of water reaching the soil. Generally, light, frequent watering is optimal for turf health. 10 to 60 minutes on the watering day will suffice, but multiple days per week will be needed. If you have information the output of your irrigation system, you can decide how many days and exactly how long to apply water. Once you have your basic schedule down, think about improving your irrigation system to help save water during changing weather. A rain sensor or rain override can stop your system from watering when it is already raining, saving you on water bills, and saving your lawn on over saturation. Watering is a complicated subject, but with some knowledge of your lawn, irrigation system, and weather effects, you can create a healthy turf with little need for special treatment.
Trees exist in all shapes and sizes, some being monstrously large with high water requirements, and some are quite small, with lower water needs. Trees generally require deep, infrequent watering to thrive. The root zone mainly exists under the canopy of the tree, out to the drip line. This is the area from the trunk out to the tips of the branches. Mature trees’ root zones can extend well beyond the drip line, so keep that in mind. Saturate this area heavily all around the roots and let it soak. After a good, thorough watering, do not water soon after. Give it time and let the tree take it up. Before returning to water again, make sure there has not been any recent large rains, and check the soil for dryness. When watering a young tree, definitely water it right at the time of planting. Make sure that you do not over saturate the soil, this can cause the root ball to slip and the tree may fall over. Steadily run a hose around the tree until the soil is moist. Do not water until runoff, this is excessive. Each deep watering for your tree can potentially sustain its need for a period of 10 days up to 4 weeks. It may seem difficult to know exactly when to water, but plants have their own “body language” we can read to assess. Leaves shriveling up and curling are one sign of drought. Leaves can also change color slightly, or develop scorch damage along the leaf margin. You may also notice reduced growth at the tips of growing branches, or leaf drop before the fall season. Using mulch at the base of your trees can help it resist drought, as the mulch will cool the soil and assist in maintaining moisture. Please see mulching resources to help with that. Water makes up a large percentage of every living plant, and as such, it is vitally important to supply adequate water!