Drought Tree Care

Tree Care During Drought

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Trees are the single most important living element in a landscape.  They, just like humans, require consistent care regardless of the conditions surrounding them.

Therefore, when dry weather conditions persist for any given period of time, landscape trees will inevitably require a lot of extra work in order to ensure they remain healthy.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, which was released May 15, 2014, more than one-third of the state of Arizona is currently experiencing persisting or worsening drought.

Knowing the proper amount of water to supply your trees with depends on many factors including its age, species, location, soil type, weather and the time of the year.

Generally speaking, newly planted or young trees require more watering, than older or more established trees.

However, all trees experiencing the following signs of drought stress – no matter their age – will require supplementary watering to survive:

  • Wilting, yellowing or browning leaves
  • Defoliation
  • Branch die back
  • Leaves that appear smaller than normal
  • Premature falling leaves

How to Apply Water during Drought

You can most effectively water trees by watering them deeply and slowly.  Placing a hose a few feet away from the canopy of your tree (the drip line) and then allowing it to slowly trickle for one to four hours’ time is the best method for ensuring that the soil is properly moistened (the recommended watering depth is 24 to 36 inches).

When and How Often to Water

To avoid rapid evaporation, it is highly recommended that you water your trees at night or in the wee hours of the morning.  This ensures they’ll receive ample amounts of water.   Depending on the condition of your soil, you should water one to three times per week.

One of the best methods for determining when and how often to water your trees is to take a long (eight inches or more) screwdriver and poke it into the soil.  If the soil is dry, it will be hard to push, whereas if the soil is wet it will easily pass.

What Not to Do

During drought conditions, you will want to avoid fertilizing your tree, as this can result in additional stress being placed on the root system.

During this time, you may also want to refrain from pruning, as opening up your tree’s canopy can cause its branches to sun burn – ouch!

If you would like to receive more information on how to properly care for your tree during drought, please contact the professional arborists at Branch Management Tree Service today, via 480-970-1315.

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