Trees for Life Oregon has declared the last week of every July and the last week of every August to be Soak-It-Weeks, a time for all Portlanders to deeply water their yard and street trees to help ensure their survival in our increasingly dry and hot summers.
Portland has always been a challenging climate for many trees due to its warm, dry summers. Climate change, however, is now making life tougher for our trees by worsening drought and bringing hotter temperatures. This is stressing trees, especially those not native to regions with dry summers. Even some native trees that in the past did not require summer watering are affected. To save our trees, Portlanders need to stop relying solely on rainfall. Through Soak-it-Week we encourage Oregonians to deeply water their yard and street trees, especially those less than 10 years old and still trying to establish themselves.
How to Water
Young trees in Portland need 15 to 20 gallons of water once a week during their first 2 to 3 summers. To ensure more mature trees also survive and remain healthy, they should be watered at least monthly during summer with anywhere from 20 to 50 gallons, depending on size. Slow, deep soaking in the root zone is best. Many people find drilling three 3/16-inch holes in a 5-gallon bucket, filling the bucket with water, and placing it near but not right up against the trunk works well. Buckets need to be refilled four to ten times to fully water a tree. Repeat at least monthly.
It’s easiest to remember if you time your waterings during the two Soak-It-Weeks planned for the end of July and August.
Thank you to BDNA Land Use Committee volunteers Kim and Loralie and Jim from Trees for Life Oregon for making Brentwood-Darlington Soak-It-Week possible!