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Newark Arborist Advises on How to Preserve Trees and Other Plantings During NJ Drought

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Soaker hoses, gator bags and organics can all help keep trees moist with less water

Many parts of New Jersey are in a state of extreme drought. Conditions worsened in mid-August and you may see signs of drought in your trees.

So if your trees need water but there is very little to be had, what to do?

Jason Reitter is an arborist in Newark with the company Davey.

“Soaker hoses are really great because it doesn’t waste the water,” he said. “It starts actually getting that soil around the root areas excessively moist without wasting water and evaporating water.”

Reitter said there are also organics that can be put in the ground around trees to help keep moisture closer to the roots.

Other ways to use less water and still keep greenery moist?

"For new plantings rather than any kind of hoses they make kind of gator bags that you can set up actually on the root ball so you can water kind of once a week without wasting gallons and gallons of water,” he said.

You may have seen them on trees along city streets — zippered bags around the roots of a newly planted tree.

And there are still other ways to help a struggling tree.

“Sometimes there’s organics that we can put in the ground that helps keep moisture closer to the root and if that makes sense to do or if you see your tree struggling it may be that it was planted too deep 20 years ago and we should probably address that,” Reitter said.

Since mid-June, parts of New Jersey have fallen up to 6 inches below normal rainfall.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.