Help Your Trees Through The Heat Wave

Photo: Ford, Brad

Extended hot, dry weather can place a great deal of stress on trees. Fortunately, just a little extra care will provide the relief needed to prevent drought damage and keep your trees healthy.

Vancouver Urban Forestry, a program of the Department of Public Works, reminds residents to mulch around the base of trees and water them regularly. Young trees need about 10 to 15 gallons of water once a week during summer months. Older trees may need extra water during dry summer months, too. The amount of water a tree needs depends upon the size of the tree. A general rule of thumb is to use approximately 10 gallons of water per 1 inch of trunk diameter each time you water.

Water slowly, dispersing the flow of water to get deep down to the tree’s roots. Watering for short periods of time will encourage shallow rooting, which can lead to more drought damage. Here are some options to prevent wasteful runoff and assure deep watering:

  • Turn a hose on low for 15 minutes at the base of the tree;
  • Make holes in the bottoms of 5-gallon buckets, fill with water and place at the base of trees; or
  • Install a slow-release watering bag.
  • To reduce evaporation, water in the morning and mulch your tree. Bark chips make good mulch, using the 3-3-3 rule: 3 inches of mulch in a 3-foot ring with a 3-inch space around the tree trunk.

Trees provide natural canopies for our neighborhoods, clean our air and water, and enhance the quality of life for all. Please help preserve and protect our healthy urban forest canopy by watering your trees during hot, dry summer months.

For questions and a list of tree care tips, visit the City of Vancouver's Urban Forestry webpage at or call 360-487-8308 for assistance.

Source: City of Vancouver

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