Notes from the City of Morris Tree Board
You're not the only one feeling the heated stresses of summer in the city. The summer weather theater has been filled with intense winds, one flood inducing heavy downpour, and mutant hockey puck hail stones sailing like-frisbees. They not only smashed windows and raked our roofs, they tore through tender new tree growth and apples soon to ripen. Some of us noticed that homes with trees in the boulevards or yards suffered less hail damage. Yes, there probably is a connection. The buffer theory.
All this occurs on top of drought, drought, and more drought. Our three to four year rainfall totals continue to lag behind. We haven't had the one of rain per week that our boulevard and yard trees cherish. They are stressed and some are getting pale or changing into fall type colors. This is not normal, as it is not the fall yet.
We are proud of our boulevard trees. They grow in the narrow green strip between curb and sidewalk. They fight winter salt, vehicle fumes, construction damage, and the ignorant string trimmer brutality. They are faithful, tough, and need our help.
These trees need water, they need it terribly and they need it now. This past week's heat wave added to the urgency.
Don't go running for your grandpa's watering can at noon unless you need the exercise. All trees, especially boulevard trees, need a good soaking once a week until the ground freezes, light surface watering only irritates the ants.
Remember the roots need water to the edge of the canopy or, as some call it "the crown,” above, not only at the base of the trunk. Don't just throw your hose at the trunk base and come back an hour later, move to different spots under the canopy.
To calculate your tree's water needs takes a little math. Estimate or measure how wide the tree canopy is from tip to tip. This is the diameter. Halve that number (the radius), multiply it by itself, then multiply by 3.14, then .08 (1"), then 7.5 gallons. For example, a 3 year old maple tree on the boulevard has a 10' canopy. Half of 10 = 5. Therefore, 5 X 5 X 3.14 X .08 X 7.5 = 47.1 gallons.
If you time how long it takes to fill a one gallon ice cream pail, then multiply that by gallons needed, this helps you more accurately apply water, keeping you from underapplying or wasting water. Use this table if your calculator is out of juice:
10' canopy = 47.1 gallons weekly15' canopy = 66 gallons weekly20' canopy = 188 gallons weekly25' canopy = 294 gallons weekly30' canopy = 423 gallons weekly40' canopy = 753 gallons weekly
If it takes one minute to slow trickle fill an ice cream pail, It takes 47 minutes to slow water a 10’ canopy tree.
At current Morris water prices of 20 cents for every 75 gallons, even a 40’ canopy tree only costs $2 per week to keep healthy. Help out our leafy community, rest leisurely m the shady part of the yard, have your loved one fan you and stay hydrated.