The STRESS of DROUGHT
by Carole Schwalm
A tree with leaves that are curled and/or yellow could be suffering from drought stress. Deciduous leaves may be scorched, with brown edges and evergreen needles start changing colors. The tree’s leaves may also be smaller than normal.
With a drought comes water restrictions and trees, especially those that are older, are valuable. You can replace a lawn much quicker than you can replace them. They should be first in line for water!
Deep water your trees to a depth of 12 inches below the soil surface – all the way to the outer edges of the branches (the dripline).
Water slowly because short-term watering encourages shallow rooting, and that leads to more drought damage later. The recommended formula is 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter with each watering (measure the trunk at knee height). The time? It takes 5 minutes for a hose to produce 10 gallons of water.
- Set up a deep-watering schedule for at least three times a month.
- Mulching around the tree, beginning 6 inches away from the trunk, reduces moisture loss.
- Do not fertilize under drought stress because the salts in the fertilizer can burn roots. They also stimulate growth that the tree can’t handle until it recovers.
- Remove dead branches.
- Promise yourself that you will also water in the winter.
For more information on water conservation and good watering practices, see our articles on Water Conservation, Green Lawn Care and Green Landscaping.
Share your experience with drought landscaping or if you'd like more information.