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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Tree Installation

Tree Irrigation

Emitter layout for established trees. Click
to view larger version.

When planning an irrigation system for trees, a common misconception is that tree roots will "grow toward water." Roots will not grow through dry soil.

Trees require water in a larger area to allow the roots to spread out and provide a sturdy base for the tree.

Young trees need enough drip emitters to cover the canopy from the tree trunk out to the ends of the branches.

Mature trees should have enough drip emitters surrounding it that 50 to 75 percent of the tree's canopy area should be wet.

If a tree is standing alone in a landscape, its demand for water increases as the tree and the roots grow. The wetting pattern must be increased at the same time. Roots only grow in soil that provides moisture and growth can be stunted if the roots can't find moisture as it tries to grow.

Common Mistakes

The following mistakes are commonly made with drip irrigation for trees:

  • Setting your irrigation clock for your tree to run the same as spray irrigation
  • Mixing irrigation components
  • Not using filters or pressure regulators
  • Not property burying drip irrigation lines
  • Applying too much gravel mulch before establishing wetting patterns
  • Poor emitter placement which results in poor wetting patterns
  • Not maintaining the drip irrigation system


Video: Drip Watering Tips


Find out how to keep your landscape happy and healthy with these drip irrigation tips. Play

Photos: Drip Irrigation Components


Learn about the components that make up your drip irrigation system. See

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