Five Tips To Prevent Drought Stress For Your Landscape Trees


Summer heat waves and prolonged droughts are becoming the norm in many areas. Although many people worry about drought stress and its effect on lawns and shrubs, trees -- particularly mature trees -- are often overlooked. This is because a mature tree can be slow to show the signs of stress, which means the damage can be severe before you even realize the trees are suffering. Fortunately, you can prevent drought stress with these five simple tips.

1. Reduce the Canopy

An overgrown canopy requires more water to support. The excess leaf surfaces also lead to more water loss via evaporation. A tree service can prune the canopy in early spring to remove weak, damaged, and overgrown branches. A more compact canopy will produce lusher, more attractive growth while also offering more drought resiliency.

2. Clear Out Suckers

Many tree species put out whip-like stems from their base or low down on the trunk. They may also produce weak twiggy growth along the trunk beneath the main canopy. Cut off these suckers and the twiggy growth as soon as it appears, as they just divert moisture and energy from the main tree trunk and canopy. Plus, this growth is unattractive and can lead to a weakened growth pattern later.

3. Reduce Competition

Make sure your trees aren't competing with weeds or other landscape plants for moisture. Ideally, you will be able to clear an area around the trunk that is at least half the circumference of the canopy above. If not, then at least remove water-hungry weeds and avoid planting deep-rooted landscape plants like small shrubs or summer bulbs. Instead, opt for simple lawn grasses or less water-hungry annual flowers.

4. Conserve Soil Moisture

Bare soil leads to nearly as much water loss as weed competition, thanks to evaporation. Mulch is the solution to this problem. A thick layer of bark mulch will both prevent evaporative water loss and it looks much nicer than bare soil. Mulch also chokes out weeds, which further helps reduce water competition around the tree.

5. Provide Sufficient Water

Don't simply assume that your trees are getting sufficient water from your lawn irrigation. If your tree does not have it's own dedicated emitter, typically in the form of a drip line or bubbler sprinkler head, then you need to water it by hand during a drought. As a general rule, you can multiply the diameter of the tree, in inches, by five minutes to determine how long to water a tree every week to two weeks during drought.

Contact a tree service for more help with getting your trees safely through an extended drought.


16 July 2020

A Tree For Every Yard

Elm, ash, walnut, maple, apple — these are all gorgeous trees, but they all have their own preferences in terms of care. Maple trees, for example, need to be pruned later in the season once their sap has begun flowing. Elm trees should be pruned in winter when insects aren't around in order to protect them from the emerald ash borer. A good tree care company will treat each of your trees as individuals, customizing care to their own specific needs. Still, it's important that you, as the tree owner, understand those needs, too. Read the articles on your website, and you'll soon have a pretty good grasps on the basics of tree care.