Four Ways to help your trees survive drought and high temperature
Texas is going through prolonged period of high temperature and very little rainfall. That combination is devastating to people, animals and trees. Your trees are feeling the pain. Most trees have the ability to survive under adverse conditions especially those with deep roots. Others will die unless they get help.
Newly planted trees or those with shallow root systems may not survive the drought unless the homeowner makes efforts to aid them. Here are ways to help your trees survive the drought and excessively high temperatures.
1. Don’t give up on your trees
During droughts or excessive high temperatures, many hardwood trees may appear to be dead or dying. Do not cut them down. They may be in dormancy or shedding leaves and branches to conserve limited resources. This is especially true of Elm, Red Oak and Water Oak trees. Dormancy is the state in which trees turn brown, shed leaves and appear to be dead. It is a natural way trees protect themselves to ensure their survivability. To check for dormancy, bend a tree branch to see if it is pliable or bristle. If it bends without breaking, the tree has gone dormant.
2. Watch for symptoms of tree stress
Stressed trees are susceptible to disease and pest infestation. During this drought, it is easy for tress to suffer stress from lack of water or other nutrients. Normally, a tree will have water content of 200%. This might fall to 100% during extended periods of high temperatures. This opens the trees up to diseases like aphids, canker, heart-rot, leaf burn and scorch, anthracnose and pests like elm leaf beetle, lace bugs and mealy bugs. Water your trees frequently when you believe they are under stress.
3. Don’t fertilize trees during drought
Fertilizing your trees is normally a good idea, except during drought. When you fertilize your trees, they utilize the nutrients to grow faster. During high temperatures, trees need to conserve water and slow down growth rate. Do not fertilize during drought as this works against the trees and cause them to stunt their growth.
4. Water your trees
During drought, trees need water more than any other nutrients. Water your trees frequently when the thermometer hit triple digits. Pay attention to local water restrictions to avoid fines. Water trees 1-4 inches every 10 days. The volume depends on the type of tree and soil. Smaller trees require more water than larger trees because of their root systems. Best time to water your trees is early in the morning or late evening to match the hydration cycle of trees.