5 Tips To Prevent Drought Stress On Trees

Tree care during extended periods of dry weather can prevent drought stress. A stressed tree will begin to decline from lack of water, which will make it more susceptible to pests and disease. Your tree service can help you implement the following so your trees are able to survive the drought. 

1. Remove Competition

Weeds, ornamental plants, and lawn grass compete with the tree for water. Removing these plants so they aren't growing right over the root zone around the trunk can help the tree have access to the water it needs. Ideally, an area of several feet in diameter can be cleared. Edge in the bare soil around the trunk to keep plants from encroaching too closely. 

2. Open the Soil

Drought can cause soil to become more compact, which means irrigation water may have trouble soaking in. Breaking up the soil surface is necessary when compaction is a problem. Spike or core aeration can be performed underneath trees, as long as caution is used so no large surface roots suffer major damage from the aeration equipment. 

3. Water Deeply

It will take several deep watering sessions for a badly drought-stricken tree to show recovery signs, but mild symptoms will be relieved much more quickly. Provide about 2 inches of water a couple of times a week during dry weather. You can measure the amount supplied by watering with a sprinkler and setting a can under the tree. Turn off the water when the can has 2 inches of water in it.

4. Add Mulch

Conserve water by using mulch to prevent evaporation. Wood chips or bark nugget mulch look nice and are long-lasting. Plus, their weight means they will stay in place without blowing all over the yard. A layer about 3 inches deep will shade the soil so sunlight and heat don't precipitate the moisture out of the soil as rapidly. Just make sure the mulch doesn't rest right up against the trunk, leave a little space to allow air circulation.

5. Postpone Pruning

Outside of major damage that must be trimmed off for safety, postpone any seasonal pruning until the tree has recovered from the drought stress. Avoid rushing into a trim, since the extent of the drought damage may not be visible until the following year. Some wood that appears dead may survive to produce fresh buds after dormant season recovery. 

Contact a tree service for further help when your trees are suffering during drought.