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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - December 24, 2012

From: McAllen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Watering live oak trees from McAllen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are the watering requirements for live oak trees in deep south Texas? How often and how many inches to be applied? One pop-up spray sprinkler spaced approximately fifteen feet away from each tree is how the water is being applied. These trees range size from 2" to 6".

ANSWER:

This is a question we frequently address; we will link you to some previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions on this subject, and then sum up on our opinion.

Katy, Texas - Note this paragraph:

"To water, especially in the very hot weather we are experiencing right now, push your hose deep into the (hopefully) soft soil around the roots and let it slowly drip until water comes to the surface. Unless you are getting frequent rains, do this twice a week. We don't recommend watering trees by the use of sprinkler systems."

Georgetown, TX

Drought Resource Center

Our take on all this is that one popup sprinkler isn't going to make it. You use the sprinklers out on the perimeter of the tree dripline to get to the roots extended out there. We don't like sprays of water hitting the bark anyway; it can invite fungus and disease. The video from the Drought Resource Center (above) is extremely useful in telling you what the tree needs.


 

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