Drought makes growing healthy trees in this region all the more challenging and reinforces the value of a majestic shade tree. Properly placed and maintained trees are an asset to the environment and to our community.
What a tree under “drought stress” looks like:
Symptoms of drought injury to trees can be sudden or may take up to two years to be revealed. Drought injury symptoms on tree leaves include wilting, curling at the edges, and yellowing.
Deciduous leaves may develop scorch, brown outside edges or browning between veins.
Evergreen needles may turn yellow, red or purple. They may also turn brown at the tips of the needles and browning may progress through the needle towards the twig.
In continued drought, leaves may be smaller than normal, drop prematurely or remain attached to the tree even though brown.
Often times, drought stress may not kill a tree outright, but set it up for more serious secondary insect and disease infestations in following years. For more information and pictures of drought symptoms, see: Recognizing Drought Injury Symptoms on Plants.
Where to water your tree:
Deep watering to a depth of 12” inches below the soil surface is recommended.
Saturate the soil around the tree within the drip line (the outer edges of the tree’s branches) to disperse water down toward the roots.
For evergreens, water 3’-5’ beyond the drip line on all sides of the tree.
The objective is to water slowly, dispersing the flow of water to get the water deep down to the trees roots. Watering for short periods of time only encourages shallow rooting which can lead to more drought damage.
Don’t dig holes in the ground in an effort to water deeply. This dries out roots even more. A soil needle/deep root feeder attached to a hose is acceptable to insert into the ground if your soil is not too hard and compact.
Overhead spraying of tree leaves is inefficient and should be avoided during drought conditions. Watering at ground level to avoid throwing water in the air is more efficient.