Are you allowed to water trees during the drought?
YES - when following water wise techniques below, trees are exempt from most watering restrictions and schedules because they are too valuable to lose. It's great to let your lawn turn gold, but keep your trees and our communities green. Check out this map to learn more about watering guidelines for your property.
It only costs around $3 per month to water a mature tree. For the price of a coffee, trees clean our air, cool our homes, replenish groundwater, improve our health, and create livable and lovable neighborhoods. We need trees, and trees need water.
When to water
The amount of water your tree needs depends on your soil and tree type.
How do you know when it's time to water? Check the soil!
Use a screwdriver or soil probe to check the soil at least 6 inches below the surface near the drip line of your tree (the imaginary circle at the farthest reaches of the tree's branches). If the soil is hard, dry, and crumbly, add water with a slow soak. If the soil is wet and sticky, allow it to dry before adding more water.
How to water established trees (3+ years after planting)
Don't rely on lawn sprinklers - they won't water deeply enough to reach tree roots. Instead, slowly soak the tree's drip line, the circular area under the farthest reaches of the branches, until water reaches 12-18 inches below the surface. Don't water close to the trunk.
You can use:
- A soaker hose
- A hose sprinkler on a low setting
- Drip tubing or emitters
If the root zone extends under hardscape or beyond your property, slowly soak as much of the root zone as possible.
Special note: Native trees like blue oaks, which have never received regular irrigation, may be harmed by adding extra water in the summer. Depending on rainfall, they may need supplemental water from fall through spring in dry years. Contact a certified arborist if you have questions about the health of your native or mature tree.