by Tammy Taylor
RancherMan & I often do some light traveling during the summer months. This year Mother Nature has dealt us yet another hard blow – drought has once again returned to our part of NE Texas. No rain has fallen on our ranch in over a month, the grass is brown & crunchy, leaves are falling from the trees and even mature established drought-resistant plants like my rosemary are fading fast. But we have a road trip planned & we’ll be away from the homestead for almost two weeks and I’m worried about the small pear tree RancherMan bought me this spring – how and I going to keep it alive in my absence with this weather?
You see, when we decided to build we apparently planted our house right in the hole of death, and getting any plant life to live in either my front or back yard has been a challenge. I’ve lost count of the number of fruit trees, shrubs or flowers that I’ve planted and babied only to have them succumb – 18 months longevity at the most.
So when RancherMan bought me this pear tree I opted to NOT plant it in our yard, but down the driveway closer to the front fence where it would stand a fighting chance. After it was planted rains kept it well watered during the spring, but then the rain tap turned off and it turned frightfully hot for days on end here in NE Texas. We endured record-high temps and went two of our hottest summer months without a drop of rain and our area once again slipped into a drought…
Since I planted it down the driveway (in an effort to give it a fighting chance) this small tree is not within range of our water hose so I’d been attempting to hand water my little pear tree. While that worked well at first, as the ground dried out more & more any water I poured on it was wicked away like a sponge so keeping it adequately watered became a challenge. Now that we’re planning to go out of town for a few days I won’t be able to water it at all. I can’t stand to think about losing this special tree too. What to do??
RancherMan suggested we take our 100-gallon water trough, set it on the forks of the tractor and fill it with water. Then he drove it to the tree and gently sat it down right next to it. Finally we unscrewed the plug just enough to allow the water to drip slowly.
Over the course of the next several days that we were away that slow drip kept the tree watered and even the hard ground surrounding it finally got wet as well. Although it continued being extra hot and dry while we were away my pear tree remained happily watered so it did great!
We’ll continue on with this watering method until the drought breaks to make sure my tiny tree stays healthy. I’ll just unscrew the plug to allow it to drip for a few days as needed, then tighten the plug to stop the water for a few days.