Understanding And Preventing Drought Stress On Landscape Trees


One thing that can be easy to overlook in the home landscape is drought stress on your trees. This is especially likely if you have trees growing in landscape areas where regular irrigation doesn't occur, such as in mulched beds. Many trees, especially mature ones, are resilient to some drought stress so you may not notice there is a problem until it's too late. The following guide can help you understand the effects of drought stress on your trees as well as how to tell if it is a problem in your landscape.

Age and root concerns

Young trees are the most susceptible to drought because they do not have the extensive or deeply growing root system of a more established tree. While some dry weather can encourage a young tree to send out deeper roots in search of ground water, if the drought progresses for longer than it takes the roots to put on new growth, the young tree will suffer. Some varieties of trees, regardless of age, are also unable to send out the deep tap roots necessary to survive even a slight drought. This is often seen in tropical tree varieties or those that tend to grow naturally in wet or marshy areas. Mature trees with deep root systems, on the other hand, can withstand longer droughts.

Drought effects

For young trees and those with shallow roots systems, leaf wilt, followed by drying, browning, and eventual leaf drop, is the most obvious sign. The foliage will die back first, followed by younger twigs and then whole branches. Mature trees, on the other hand, may do better with only some leaf and twig loss. Curling and drying of leaf margins may also occur in mature trees. The more concerning effects on mature trees is that drought stress weakens them so that the tree may become more susceptible to bacterial or viral diseases, or to insect and pest damage. These more insidious threats can manifest as deformed foliage, weeping sap, chewed and damaged leaves, or discoloration on foliage or branches.

What can you do?

First and foremost, water your trees properly. Newly planted trees require watering weekly in the first summer after planting, and every 14 days in the second summer. Mature trees only need infrequent watering, perhaps once per every thirty days that there is no significant rainfall. While deciduous trees only need watering when actively growing in spring and summer, evergreens can benefit from a midwinter irrigation if the temperatures have been above freezing.

For more help, contact a tree service in your area, such as Hudson & Sons Tree Service.


11 July 2018

Improving The Look Of Our Trees

After we moved into our house, we knew that something had to be done about our trees. The branches looked off-kilter, and we could tell that someone had pruned them incorrectly at one time or another. Unfortunately, we weren't really sure how to repair the damage. A family friend talked with us about hiring a professional tree trimmer, and so we called them the next day. The difference that they made was astounding. They removed dead branches, trimmed up the shape, and let more sunlight through. My blog is all about improving the look of your trees by hiring a professional.