One of the questions we have been fielding recently is “How will this year’s drought affect my trees?”.
To understand this, we must first say that without water, there is no plant life.
Water is an integral component in photosynthesis, cell growth, and other chemical processes. It is also essential in facilitating mineral absorption from the soil. When drought occurs, depending on the severity, photosynthesis stops, root systems are damaged, and nutrients become less available. In simple terms, it is the driving force of plant health and growth.
Droughts acutely affect new tree plantings because their root structures are not well developed. You will see clear signs of wilting and leaf drop immediately.
In mature trees the symptoms will be much less noticeable in the short- term.
During a drought, a mature plant will rely on its food reserves so you will not see the stress immediately. It is during the coming months and years when the plant runs out of reserves and begins to put resources towards rebuilding the damaged root system, that you will begin to see the long-term effects of drought. These symptoms may consist of die back of entire branches and/or a decline of the tree in general.
All in all, it is a good practice to monitor and regulate the amount of water your landscape trees are getting. Consistent water throughout the growing season is ideal. It is also important to note that if you’re seeing decline in your mature trees this year and think it is due to drought, this is likely not the case. As stated above, you may not see the real effects of drought until the following growing season. There could be other factors at play, and you may want to have a tree-care professional out to assess the issue.
With all this talk of drought, we do have some good news! Steady rains in the fall is one of the best things we can get! So far, we have gotten plenty of rain in September setting up our trees for another year of solid growth and beauty.