Trees are vital for the ecosystem and contribute to well-being. However, just like any other living being, they are susceptible to the stresses of changing climatic conditions, especially drought. Drought can lead to the weakening of trees and make them more susceptible to diseases and pests. Therefore, it becomes essential to provide appropriate care for trees during drought conditions. Keep reading so you can keep your trees healthy when you have droughts in your area.
During drought conditions, efficient watering is crucial. Rather than frequently sprinkling water, opt for deep watering which allows water to reach deeper roots. Use a slow-release method such as a soaker hose placed at the drip line of the tree (the area directly under the furthest reach of the branches), allowing the water to seep deep into the soil. Early morning or late evening watering reduces evaporation.
Mulching can be a lifesaver for trees during a drought. Mulch helps to retain water, moderates soil temperature, and reduces weed competition for water. Organic mulch, such as wood chips or compost, should be spread in a layer around the base of the tree, but avoid piling it up against the trunk. Organic mulch is beneficial as it breaks down on its own, providing nutrients to the soil.
Drought-stressed trees should only be pruned to remove dead or diseased wood, as pruning can otherwise stimulate new growth that will require more water. In addition, proper pruning helps to reduce the tree's water needs by decreasing the overall leaf area, reducing the amount of water the tree loses through transpiration.
Not all trees will need the same level of care during a drought. Mature trees, for example, have extensive root systems that allow them to access deeper soil moisture. On the other hand, newly planted trees lack this advantage and need extra attention. Similarly, some species are more drought-tolerant than others. Prioritize watering based on tree age, species, and overall health.
Monitoring Tree Health
Regularly monitoring your trees for signs of stress can help you react before the damage becomes severe. Leaves that are wilting, turning yellow or brown, or falling off outside of the normal shedding period could be signs of drought stress. Additionally, growth may be stunted, and the tree may produce smaller-than-normal leaves or fruit.
Caring for trees during drought conditions may require extra time and attention, but the benefits far outweigh the efforts. A weakened tree is not necessarily a dead tree. With adequate care and proper techniques, you can help your trees survive, and even thrive, in times of drought.
Contact a local company to learn more about tree care.