Drip and soaker hoses. Using drip and soaker hoses are popular ways to keep water close to the ground for more efficient irrigation. On newly planted trees, soaker hoses or drip lines work well when arranged on the soil surface around the outer edge of each tree’s root ball.
Several drip lines or soaker hoses may be necessary for keeping a larger tree alive. Arrange the drip lines or soaker hoses starting halfway between the tree’s dripline and the trunk then continue spreading them beyond the tree’s dripline.
How far apart to position the lines or hoses will be determined by the soil and the distance the water moves laterally. Clay soils allow water to spread out, while in sandy or gravelly soils water tends to go straight down without much spread.
Drip and soaker hose irrigation methods are difficult to use with established large trees as part of the existing root system may be in the neighbor’s yard, and often the tree is surrounded by lawn which will need mowing. Consequently, this type of irrigation equipment is best kept in beds and out of the lawn. It is not advisable to try to convert trees that have been under a flood or sprinkler irrigation system to a drip system due to the trees’ extensive root systems.