How To Care For Your Trees During A Drought
During extended periods of drought, even the most hearty and mature tree can struggle. Unfortunately, failure to care for your trees in dry periods can lead to them becoming diseased or even dying. Here are some ways to keep your trees healthy during a drought.
Check for stress
After several weeks without rain, trees will start to show signs of stress. Needles on conifer trees will begin to turn brown, red or yellow. Leaves on deciduous trees will become yellow, wilt and curl up. Leaves on stressed tress will eventually fall.
If your trees are showing signs of stress, you should begin watering. For most trees, you need the moisture to sink between 30 and 45 centimetres in the soil. You can use a soil probe to make sure the water is going deep enough. Also, water slowly to avoid evaporation. Use one or more of these items:
• A soaker hose
• A sprinkler on a low setting
• A bucket with a hole cut on the bottom (move the bucket to a different location every time you refill it)
Make sure you water beyond the canopy line, too. A tree’s root system can stretch out horizontally 1.5 to 4 times the distance of the canopy line.
Additionally, look out for early signs of disease and pests, as a weak tree will be more susceptible to these ailments.
Fertilizer is usually helpful, but not during a drought. The salt in fertilizer can burn a tree’s roots. Moreover, fertilizer promotes leafy growth, which requires more water and energy.
A layer of mulch helps keep moisture in the soil and keeps heat out. Mulch also releases nutrients as it decomposes, discourages grass and weeds from growing, and prevents soil compaction around the root system.
Spread mulch about 15 centimetres thick in a ring around the tree, and keep it 10 centimetres away from the trunk, as mulch can rot the protective bark.
Trees are more susceptible to disease and pests during a drought, so you must prune dead and diseased branches before the entire tree becomes infected. Maintaining proper pruning practices throughout the year will make your trees more resilient in times of stress.
Tree experts in Edmonton and surrounding areas in Alberta
At All Season Tree Service, our professional arborists can detect stressed or diseased trees and prescribe strategies to help. We offer comprehensive tree care services in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Leduc, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Beaumont and surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.