Why You Should Never Water Your Tree Trunks

By: albertaarb - May 28, 2014

Most people don't really think twice about what they are doing when they water their yards, grass, trees, shrubs, or anything else.  They just turn on the hose, and spray water all over anything that is growing in their yards or gardens.  If they have a sprinkler, they usually just hook it up, turn on the water and let the sprinkler do its job, and water everything in its scope of movement. 

Arborists know that one of the worst things you can do to a tree, is to water it's trunk.  There are several reasons for this.

1. Tree Trunks Don't Absorb Water For Growth

When trees absorb water, it is absorbed through the root system under the ground.  The nutrients are gained as rain water seeps into the ground and is then absorbed by the roots.  It is here that the water will be used by the tree for the purpose of actual growth. As rainfall hits the outer leaves of any tree, it drips straight down onto the ground, and seeps it's way to the root system.

2.  Water Can Carry Bacteria To The Tree

When people water the actual trunk of the tree, they may be doing more harm than good.  Water contains lots of bacteria, some of it good, and some of it bad.  When sprayed directly onto the trunk of a tree, the water can be used by the bacteria as a vehicle to enter the tree itself. Once inside it can do a lot of damage from the inside out.  When it is absorbed through the roots, it is filtered by the ground and the roots themselves, and then the water is sent throughout the tree to give it the nutrients it needs to grow.

3.  Water Near The Base of The Tree is Not Used

When you water a tree's trunk, the water that seeps down in the ground near the trunk of the tree, isn't used by the root system.  Only the ends of the roots absorb the water from the ground.  When natural rain falls, trees are designed so that the water falls down along the outer edges of the canopy. This water seeps straight down onto the ends of the roots, which then absorb the water.

If you really want to water your tree, make sure you set the sprinkler up halfway between the trunk and the outer edges of the tree's canopy. Alternatively, you can call tree care experts and ask them to help take care of your shrubs.   

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