Watering Trees: Get the water off of the Shoulder, and Make the Roots follow It

Tree with tree water bags on medianHere is a tree that was planted four months ago. Ever since then, I have followed its decline because I pass it every day on my way home. Unfortunately, it is now dead.

Tree with water bag on median now dead

What happened? The property maintenance company that planted it surely is motivated to see it survive.

They water it regularly with a gator bag. They will have to replace it since it died within the warranty period that is commonly offered in that industry. The answer is in how it is watered. Lift up the gator bag, and it becomes clear what is happening.

Tree with poor root  growth

Notice the new root growth that has resulted from the watering technique (gator bag)employed here. These roots are called adventitious roots because of their origination from the stem of the tree. Because they are not forming underground, they will not be very helpful to the tree in the long run. In fact, they will probably be the cause of the tree’s death. When water is applied only to the shoulder (the top) of the root ball, that is where the roots will grow. Roots belong underground. And watering techniques should encourage the formation of underground roots instead of adventitious roots.

Roots in Rootwell
Here we see new roots growing underground because of the installation of Rootwells in the dripline and away from the stem. When water is applied in this area instead of to the stem, a more natural and healthy progression of root growth occurs. Obviously, this is to the benefit of the tree.

If Rootwells are specified and employed in the planting of trees, we will see much healthier trees as well as cost savings in both maintenance (less water needs to be used) and replacement.


Learn More About Watering Trees

If you would like to learn more about watering trees deep into the root zone with the Rootwell Pro-318, please contact us.