Irrigation Bubblers for Tree Establishment
June 12, 2018
Irrigation bubblers - small heads that deliver a small slow stream of water to trees and shrubs at the root zone - are certainly useful for establishing young trees, and maintaining shrubs long-term. However, once trees are established and grow in size, a single irrigation bubbler alone won't deliver even watering to the entire root zone.
As trees grow, you need to move the irrigation tubing and bubbler heads back from the base of the trunk.
"For small trees, like saplings, bubblers are okay, but only for a short period of time, say a year or so," advises Steve Clary, Certified Arborist. Once established, the water that the bubblers provide don't deliver hydration to the entire root ball. Instead, they concentrate water near the trunk, and therefore water is only delivered to a small portion of the root ball.
"This doesn't encourage root development and can compromise establishment," says Steve. "If the tree is able to establish and the bubbler is not removed in a timely manner, the hose to the bubbler can easily intrude on the trunk." An example of this is shown in the photo below.
For more tips on the watering needs of trees, check out our article on the subject here. And if you would like to visit with one of our arborists, contact us and we'll get an appointment set up to suit your schedule.