As the drought we’ve been having now falls under the category of severe, proper tree care is more essential than ever. Trees in Milwaukee are dying as a result of the extremely dry conditions. Even if trees show no outward signs of drought stress, such as wilted leaves and downward drooping shoots, the lack of water leaves them more susceptible to insect and disease problems. In order to protect your trees in such dry conditions, attentive care is necessary.
Here are some tips for keeping your trees alive and healthy all summer long:
- Look for drought symptoms such as wilting, curling on the edges and yellowing. The foliage on some trees may even begin to brown.
- Keep a close eye on drought sensitive trees such as trees planted in the last 3-5 years as well as magnolias, Japanese maples, dogwoods, beeches, tulip trees and birches.
- Water your trees properly at least once a week if it has not rained. Trees need a slow, thorough soaking rather than light surface watering. The best way to achieve this is by placing a trickling hose under trees, allowing for enough water to soak the top 6-12 inches of soil. The hose should be moved every 20 minutes and should soak the area from the trunk to the tips of the branches, known as the drip line.
- Overwatering can be just as detrimental to trees as drought since it restricts the amount of air the roots receive, so make sure to not run the water too hard. Strong water flow also results in runoff, reducing the amount of water soaked up by the soil and increasing unnecessary water waste.
- Maintain organic mulch over as much of the root system as possible. The mulch serves many functions, such as lowering the heat exposure and allowing for better retention of moisture by the roots. Fibrous root growth can be four times as much under mulch compared to trees without it.
Droughts pose many problems for trees such as wilting, disease, insect infestation and even death. With the proper care and attention, many of these problems can be avoided. Frequent watering will allow your trees to stay healthy through this severe drought.
For more information about drought care or to talk with an arborist, please call First Choice Tree Care at 262-242-1274 or visit our website: www.firstchoicetreecare.com.