Trees in Overwatered Lawns
Trees are too often innocent victims when planted in lawn areas.
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"The No. 1 killer of trees in the landscape is people mismanaging water in their lawns," says Pam Bone, a landscape horticulturist in Sacramento, Calif.
"People put in new sod and keep it saturated; they water it three and four times a day. They're killing our trees. When you see moss growing around a tree in the middle of summer, you know you're watering too much."
According to Bone, new sod doesn't need multiple, daily waterings even in the heat of summer. Fewer, longer and deeper waterings (two or three a week, depending on your soil) are much better for sod.
"Water adequately when you water," she says. "Put on a good quantity of water so it percolates down and goes into the soil. Then let it dry out between irrigations."
If you have trees in the lawn area, Bone recommends removing turf in a 3-foot circle around the trunk of the tree. Keep turf away from the trunk.
Proper watering of trees such as alders, liquidambars, redwoods and magnolias also will reduce surface roots. Bone says to snake a soaker house around the tree and let it run several hours (at least 12 hours) once a month.
Dan Vierria writes for the Sacramento Bee.