3 Drought Management Tips for Landscape Trees

Posted on: 26 March 2020


Trees are not immune to drought or long dry periods. Trees native to your area or from a similar climate are likely to better resist drought, but some manual care will also be necessary to get the trees through the period in good health. If your trees are experiencing drought symptoms, like yellowed leaves, dieback, or cracked bark, then it is time to implement some strategies to counteract the problem.

Reduce Competition

Landscape trees may seem large enough that nothing could compete with them, but even the smallest weeds can win the competition over water. If there are a lot of weedy plants, or even desired annual flowers, growing around the base of your tree, then they may be soaking up the moisture before it penetrates deeply enough for the tree rots to tap.

If drought is a concern, then remove any plants growing underneath the tree. Cover the cleared area with a 3-inch layer of mulch, which will serve the dual purpose of preventing further weed growth and preventing water loss through evaporation.

Water Deeply

Many homeowners don't specifically water their trees in periods of non-drought. Usually, between rain and lawn irrigation trees get plenty of water. During a drought when there is little rainfall and lawn watering restrictions may be in place, it's important to provide your trees with some additional water. Mature trees can be water every couple of weeks, while newly planted trees may require weekly watering.

Provide 10 gallons of water for each inch of trunk diameter during these watering sessions to ensure the tree gets sufficient moisture. If you are on tight watering restrictions, invest in a soil moisture meter so you can accurately gauge how much water the tree needs.

Minimize Water Needs

Careful pruning can help minimize the water needs of your tree. Begin by trimming out any dead or unhealthy branches. Unhealthy branches include those that are damaged, badly ravaged by pests, or that have poor growth form. Examples of poor growth form are the whip-like suckers that grow low on the trunk, branches that rub together, and watersprouts that grow vertically to the trunk. In extreme droughts, it may make sense to reduce the canopy in order to reduce water needs. A tree service will trim back all of the branches and thin out the canopy to open it up.

For more help, contact companies such as Well Done Tree Service.