Tree Health During a Drought

By: McCullough Tree Service| On: July 31, 2018

Drought Stress: Keeping Your Trees Healthy

Drought has long-term effects on a tree’s health. Sometimes you can tell from the outside, and sometimes the damage is only to the inside of the tree. To further your understanding of how your trees may be impacted by drought conditions, take a look at the following pointers for nurturing your trees in the midst of a drought.

Symptoms of Drought Stress in Trees

The symptoms of drought stress in trees can vary by the species, but some of the most common signs include:

  • Curling or wilting leaves
  • Leaves or needles falling when they haven’t matured
  • Dropping branches
  • Thinning canopy
  • Yellowing or browning in leaves
  • Poor or stunted growth

The leaves that grow on evergreen trees tend to experience discoloring at their tips, while deciduous trees can succumb to diseases because of prolonged droughts. Under extreme circumstances, the conditions of a drought can cause a tree’s demise.

Caring for Trees During a Drought

To ensure your trees don’t develop water dependency, which makes them more prone to developing problems during droughts, it’s imperative to water them the right way. Make sure that you water your trees deeply and infrequently, as regular and shallow watering will not help your trees and may hinder their long-term development.

The optimal time to water your trees during the winter is when the snow has melted, and the temperature is more than 40 degrees.

Since the roots of your tree may encompass a large area, be sure you are watering the entire space underneath the tree’s branches, so all the roots get the moisture they need to continue thriving. To ensure that the water gets to your tree’s deepest roots, it’s important to water slowly. Put your hose on a low setting and water the area gradually.

Apply mulch to help the soil around your tree stay moist and preserve water. Spread approximately four inches of mulch two to three inches from the tree trunk’s base. However, never put mulch against the trunk itself. Continue mulching as needed until the drought passes.

If the temperatures are low but there hasn’t been any snow, you should be regularly watering your trees at least every couple of weeks.

Sources:

https://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2815&q=376790

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=15684

https://csfs.colostate.edu/2018/01/16/winter-tree-watering-necessary-drought-conditions-2/