plant wellness

Preparing Trees for a Drought – Part 1

The dry winter and spring in the west have brought us to another year where drought stress potentially becomes our most prevailing discussion and priority during the upcoming summer and fall. The lack of winter rain and quickly melting snow pack has already impacted the health of trees throughout our region and beyond. Combined with the prior year drought issues over the past seven to ten years, we anticipate not only will trees struggle much more this year and will take much longer to recover than normal.

Already many of our mature trees are declining – not producing new growth and increasing pest and disease problems compared to previous years.  Remember that the trees in our region have never fully recovered from our previous drought seasons. Just like us, stress is accumulative in trees. Whether it is too much water, not enough water, excessively high temperature, excessive cold temperatures or really any other stress that might affect proper tree growth.

What happens to trees during a drought cycle? The lack of water greatly reduces the plant’s ability to manufacture food, which weakens the tree and limits future growth. Moisture stress also increases the tree’s susceptibility to harmful insect and disease pests that would not ordinarily affect healthy plants. As the cycle of drought continues, this eventually leads to branch dieback and tree decline.

Recovery is difficult for trees under these circumstances. Trees need more than just water at this point. While water is the most critical factor, being able to get water into the root system is and hold it there is very important, trees need other inputs if they are to recover effectively. Arborwell has designed a tree recovery program that takes into account the needs of the tree as well as the soil, which is very important to the overall recovery process. In the next part of this article, we will look at the components of the recovery program and the value of our wholistic approach.

If you are concerned about tree health and drought issues on your site, contact your Arborwell arborist for a plan for your site.

drought, tree health, tree management, water conservation

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