Sprinkler System Installation for Landscape Trees

Proper irrigation can keep your landscape trees healthy and lush. An irrigation system simplifies watering, but you must make sure you install the right type of system for a tree.

Build up a Watering Berm

Trees have an extensive root system and you want to make sure that the water you provide is funneled toward the roots instead of simply dispersing through the yard. A water berm is no more than a ring of raised soil that creates a berm around the trunk and directs the flow of water. Build up a 6 inch high berm of soil around the trunk, making it about 5 to 6 feet in circumference. Alternatively, you can install above-ground edging, such as stone or brick, instead of building up a berm. Both options prevent moisture from flowing away from the tree before it can be absorbed into the soil.

Install A Drip Ring

You need a way to water the entire area inside the watering ring created by the berm or edging, otherwise the root ball won't receive equal water access. A drip ring is the way to do this. Basically this is a ring of sprinkler line that is about half to two-thirds the circumference of the berm that surrounds the trunk. The drip ring is attached to the main sprinkler line for water delivery, but trees should be placed on their own watering zone since they will not need irrigated as often as the lawn.

Choose the Right Emitters

Bubbler style emitters placed on the drip ring work exceptionally well for trees. Water bubbles up and out of these sprinkler emitters instead of spraying, which means it collects inside the watering berm and then soaks deeply into the soil. Avoid spray-emitters, as these waste water through overspray and evaporation. Further, the repeated spraying can cause damage to the trunk. As a general guideline, trees should be watered for about five minutes for every inch of trunk diameter at a frequency of about every two weeks for mature trees.

Maintain the Mulch

The mulch layer inside the watering berm should be maintained at a depth of about 3 inches, but don't let it rest directly against the trunk. Mulch prevents rapid evaporation of soil moisture and it also suppresses weeds so that no other plants will compete with your tree for water. You will need to rake the mulch to ensure it doesn't block any of the bubblers along the watering drip line.

Some companies, like Noble Tree Service Inc., know that giving your tree the right amount of water can be a challenge. Contact an irrigation service for more help with your tree sprinkler installation.