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A Guide to Taking Care of Your Trees During a Drought

A Guide to Taking Care of Your Trees During a Drought

If you live in an area that experiences drought from time to time, you should have a plan in place to take care of your trees when the rain stops.

When should you step in during a dry spell for your trees? What steps should you take to make sure they are completely watered and taken care of? Let’s get into that and more, starting with looking for signs of tree stress .

Looking for Signs of Tree Stress

Before attempting any sort of maintenance with your trees during a dry spell, you should know what signs of tree stress to look out for.

One sign to look out for is the discoloration of needles on your evergreen trees. Typically you will see the edges turn brown, or the needles will even turn different colors like red or yellow. For deciduous trees, the leaves may begin to turn yellow, wilt, and even curl up.

Another big issue to look out for is root damage occurring below the soil. This is often noticed once the tree canopy starts to thin out.

Lastly, you should keep an eye out for an influx of diseases and pests coming for your trees during a drought. A stressed-out tree actually goes through chemical changes that tend to attract diseases/pests, and a weakened tree is an easier target for infestation.

Watering Trees During a Drought

If you have trees suffering during a drought, here are some suggestions for watering and caring for them.

1. Make sure when you water your trees that the moisture is reaching between 12-18 inches deep. Since around 90% of tree roots are in the first foot of soil, you want to ensure that they’re all receiving moisture. Consider using a soil probe each time you water them to ensure it’s going deep enough.  

2. Try to skip fertilizer when you are dealing with tree stress in a drought. The additional salt in the fertilizer can actually cause root burn with trees that don’t have enough water.

3. To retain moisture, use around 4 inches of organic mulch around your trees. Make sure to keep it about six inches away from the tree trunk to prevent rot, and avoid using rocks in the area as well. Putting stones around a tree will increase the temperature, causing additional loss of moisture.

4. Just like the rest of the year, pruning is a must during a drought. Since your trees are more susceptible to diseases and pests, damaged branches will need to be removed to keep the rest of it healthy.

Our Final Thoughts on Taking Care of Your Trees During a Drought

If your trees are experiencing a dry spell and you are overwhelmed with taking care of them, contact your trusted local tree care professionals! Getting insight from arborists will help you make the best decisions for your trees.

For those of you in the San Mateo or the San Francisco Bay Area dealing with trees stressed from drought, contact Arborist Now for further assistance. 

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