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Tips For Taking Care Of Drought-Affected Trees

by April Carlson

With the summer heat comes drought concerns in many parts of the country. If you live in an area that's experiencing drought problems, you might wonder about how best to handle tree care on your property. After all, trees can suffer significant drought damage,. You might wonder if you should be pruning your trees to minimize the water demand or how you can ease the burden on your trees in the drought conditions. Here are a few tips to help you get through this season's potential water limitation.

How Can You Spot The Signs Of Drought Stress?

Sometimes, trees don't show the signs of drought issues right away or in an obvious manner. In fact, some symptoms of drought may not be evident for several years due to the lasting effects of the insufficient watering. Recognizing the signs of drought stress in trees can take a trained eye, but there are a few things that you should watch for.

Some of the earliest signs of trees suffering strain from drought include things like discoloration in the leaves. You may see signs of browning, yellowish discoloration or curled edges on some of the leaves of the tree. In addition, you might notice wilting. If you have evergreen trees in your yard, you'll see things like reddish or yellow hues in the tree if it's suffering damage due to drought. Sometimes, the needle tips turn brown as well.

As the drought stress progresses, you'll likely notice the tree dropping leaves or needles. Some trees will produce leaves that are smaller in size or will limit new leaf growth entirely. This often happens because the drought conditions aren't killing the tree but instead are weakening it. This leaves the tree vulnerable to damage from disease and other problems in later years.

Should You Trim Your Trees During Drought Stress?

It is in your best interest to avoid trimming your tree during periods of drought. While you may think that trimming will reduce the water demand from the tree, the timing couldn't be much worse. Trimming the tree while it is already stressed will ultimately cause more damage to the tree, because the goal of trimming is for the tree to focus its energy on new growth. It cannot do that when it isn't getting sufficient water due to drought, so you should skip the trimming altogether until the water supply is restored to sufficient levels.

How Can You Water The Tree For The Most Possible Benefit?

If you want to help your trees combat the drought conditions, you'll want to make the most of any watering you can do. The goal is to get the water as deep into the roots as possible, so consider installing a subsurface watering system that targets the soil all the way to a foot or so beneath the surface. That way, you get plenty of water below the surface for the roots to absorb.

When a subsurface watering system is out of the question, you can focus on watering slowly and consistently to reduce runoff. Use a hose that trickles water at the base of the tree to gradually add water to the soil, or measure the water you're getting to the roots by using a large bucket.

Puncture the bottom of the bucket with a few small holes. Then, fill the bucket with water and put it at the base of the tree. Let it drain into the soil below, then move the bucket to another area at the tree's base and do it again. Work your way around the tree to ensure even coverage. The goal is to water your trees in small amounts over a long period to ensure absorption. This ensures that more water reaches the roots than what runs off.

If you're under water restrictions and cannot freely water, consider collecting rainwater and gathering other grey water around your house. You can find more information over at this website.

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