The Effects of Drought on Trees: Why It Lasts for Years to Come

Published On: November 15th, 20212.7 min read

As the climate continues to change, years of drought have become a serious problem for many regions, and the effects are starting to show. In fact, more than half of U.S. states have experienced moderate drought in 2021.

What does this mean for you? Flowers and shrubs may make it through with regular watering, but your trees could end up suffering for years to come after a drought!

Read on to learn about the effects of drought and how your trees could be impacted!

Drought and Trees

The most affected trees are seedlings and transplants. Seedlings have shallow root systems and the top layers of soil dry out the most quickly. Transplants are more sensitive due to transplant shock, loss of their root system, and soil issues.

While established trees and plants are less at risk of damage due to drought, they face the effects as well. Drought inflames any pre-existing issues in trees such as improper planting or diseases. Landscape trees that are not native to the area are also less equipped to deal with drought.

The symptoms of drought can be hard to spot and may not show themselves until a few seasons later. Understanding the effects is the first step to maintaining your yard!

Short-Term Effects of Drought on Trees

A plant’s first response to drought is to close its stomata, through which they release water and absorb carbon dioxide. This reduces the rate of photosynthesis.

You’ll notice shriveling and falling leaves in damaged plants. If you notice discoloration or scorching, it’s time to take action.

Trees weakened by drought will also be more sensitive to winter temperatures, pesticides, and diseases.

Long-Term Damage

Drought causes the amount of water in the soil to decrease. This causes fragile root systems to die, making it difficult for the plants to absorb water even when the soil is restored.

If a drought is long-lasting or recurring, the damage to trees will be much more severe.

You may notice that entire branches die, especially at the crown of the tree. A reduction in growth and gradual decline are other signs that your tree has been damaged.

Recovering From the Effects of Drought

The best way to prevent long-lasting damage is to stay on top of tree maintenance.

Start with the soil – make sure that your trees have a healthy root system by incorporating water-retaining matter like mulch. You don’t need to water your trees frequently, but make sure the water goes deep into the soil!

An arborist can provide all the drought-care your trees need, from pruning back damaged branches to full removal of dead trees. They can also give your trees the attention they need to stay healthy during and after a drought.

Keep Your Trees Blooming

The effects of drought can cause long-lasting damage, but you can keep your trees healthy by employing a tree service near you. Tree services can help with tree preservation during a drought as well as tree recovery or removal.

Looking for arborist services in Connecticut? You can request an estimate here to find out about the services available to you! Don’t miss the chance to make your yard as healthy and beautiful as it can be after the past few years of drought!

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Kyle LeDonne
Kyle LeDonne
Fast, friendly service, definitely recommended. Great follow through, work was completed on time and with minimal damage to the lawn. Lindsey and Justin were awesome!
Ann Caranci
Ann Caranci
We had the A-team on our big job of 14+ trees (13 dead ash) in 3 different areas of our property, none of which were particularly easy to get to. With the added bonus of having drainage throughout the yard and avoiding the septic tank. I had 3 other companies come and look, one ghosted me!! 1 came and said no thank you, the third gave me a similar quote to Justin's, but you could tell he didn't want the job and wasn't as clear about how he'd go about it. Justin came in and was completely confident on how his team could get it done. And with a bucket truck - no cranes needed. (two of the above were talking cranes). Kyle, Kyle and Not Kyle (Cody) were great!! They worked hard and got it all done in 3 days!! They were nice, easy to talk to, piled the massive amount of trees in a great spot for the log truck. I thought taking down dead trees wouldn't open things up that much, but wow did it! I love how open and cleared out everything looks!! Lindsey and Kate were fabulous and accommodating talking about the cost of the job and log truck. And now I can add flowers and plants in the brighter area. FYI probably not going to plant trees... but some rhodies if I can keep the deer off them. (O: Thank you to ArborTech!! Cheers, until I can budget for the backyard.
Gabe Godfrey
Gabe Godfrey
The tree estimate and removal process had a quick turnaround (one week) and was coordinated around my schedule. Very accommodating. The team that showed up for the job was very professional and asked questions along the way to better meet my needs. Very affordable and highly recommend to anyone needing work done with trees!
Dawn Bradshaw
Dawn Bradshaw
I more than appreciate great workers...your crew is amazing! the physical ability, the mathematical knowledge even if innate, and the eye for art (cleaning up my white pines to beautiful trees) is a hard combo to find in someone. Your climber has all those skills and more. Your pricing was very reasonable! The care your crew took to ensure everything was clean and in better condition than when they came was more than apreciated by me. Even my neighbors said something! Thank you! I will call you again for future tree maintenance!
Ursula Wiebusch
Ursula Wiebusch
We enjoy working with the Arbortech team, from start to finish. Professional and respectful. We just had 8, 100 ft + trees removed and could not be happier with the results. We recommend Arbortech.
Arbortech is a great business to deal with. They did a big job quickly, professionally, and left our property in good condition. Lindsey, Justin, and their crews were all terrific. Highly recommend.
Laura Flavell
Laura Flavell
I needed to have a large Norway maple tree removed and wanted to get at least three estimates. Eric's tree service came out and gave me a somewhat reasonable quote of $3500, then a week later before I had gotten another estimate from a different company Eric's tree service texted me and said they'd be in the area the following week, I called them and they said they had to revisit the estimate. They came back out continued to tell me her personal problems and that my neighbor would have to move his trailer. She then sent me a new quote of $7231!!! I called Arbortech and Justin came over on the day scheduled and was my most reasonable quote! He also said my neighbor wouldn't need to move his trailer. Justin and his crew arrived on time and did a phenomenal job!! They are true professionals! They cleaned up everything. They had had to remove a fence panel and when they put it back it was more secure than it had been when it had been originally installed. Justin's quote was $4700 less than Eric's! This experience with Arbortech was purely positive I highly recommend this company! Thank you Justin, Lindsey and the rest of the crew, you guys rock!!
ILost MyShoe
ILost MyShoe
The service I received from everyone at Arbortech for a tree removal was absolutely wonderful. Any questions and concerns I had were answered and reassured. Justin and Lindsey were both so helpful and the value I paid for this service was outstanding. Super reasonable, and I would recommend Arbortech to anyone in need of any tree service. Super grateful and happy. If I could figure out how to add pictures to my review, I would. They did an incredible job with not just the tree removal itself, but also with a brush pile I also had taken care of. Again, highly recommend Arbortech for anyone who is in need of any type of tree service. Couldn’t be more pleased!