Care For Trees In Times Of Drought

By Jannie Vaught

As we are struggling with No Rain, drought conditions and the serious state of our water sources it is time to look at this important issue. Trees are resilient and long-lived, but like all living plants, they need moisture, either rain or water coming from us. Trees that are under areas that get water are less likely to get in serious condition. Here  what the arborist have to share. Tree watering is key to tree care.

This is difficult to recommend due to the varieties and climates. Watering newly planted trees: for new trees water immediately after you plant. Watering tree in the first two years: During the first few growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy trying to get its roots established in the soil. In the first few years, it will have a difficult time dealing with heat and drought. There’s that word again. The D word. You can help this by using a soaker hose that goes around the tree drip line, or slow and steady watering with a hose or watering can, and hay or straw mulch. Here is where I don’t use wood chips. They take to much nitrogen in their breakdown and are a nitrogen thief to this tree. And I find they heat up. You want the soil temperatures to cool, not heat.

A deep nest of hay around the tree and an appropriate watering will keep this soil damp and cooler, making it possible for this tree to sustain itself through the heat. You may even need to place a shade cloth over the tree until the excessive solar exposure is lessened. That means to cover it up till it cools down. We all need a little shade. You can check the soil moisture by digging a small hole at the drip line 2 inches deep if the soil is dry you need more water. Watch you fruiting trees and give them adequate water while producing and this can be reduced when it is picked, but do keep weekly water on these. We can keep our trees, especially our young trees and producing trees in fairly good shape even in drought. There is water from your house that can be saved and poured on them, shower, dishes, and only use a cleaning product if it is safe, and diluted.

When we are in these conditions we need to look at all our resources. You may find some extra water that can be used outside. For more information have a look online at Arbor Day Foundation. And remember that native species and varieties are more drought tolerant, trees and especially native grasses.

Out growing green with Jannie