In St. Louis, MO, hot summers are typical, and from time to time, this heat can become extreme. If it happens to be a summer without a proper amount of rain, trees and vegetation can struggle to survive the apparent drought. So, what can home or property owners do to ensure that your trees survive the drought and extreme summer heat?
Maybe now would be a good time to check the upcoming St Louis area weather!
Know the Signs of Stress
When struck with too much heat, the soil surrounding your trees can have the moisture sucked out through evaporation. Luckily, trees have plenty of ways of communicating their distress with the outside world. These signs of drought stress include:
- Yellowing of leaves
- Wilting foliage
- An increasingly sparse canopy
- Small or undersized leaves
- Leaf drop and branch weakening
- Early or premature fall coloring
If you notice any of these signs, inspect the tree further. You may notice stunted bud and twig growth, or an appearance of other insects and diseases. Thankfully, there are specific actions that you can perform as a home or property owner to protect your trees from drought conditions, including:
Place Mulch Around Your Trees
Mulching is a protective measure used to preserve water during summer months. Organic mulch can provide tree roots and the surrounding soil with plenty of benefits like increased nutrition, moisture, the suppression of weeds, and regulation of temperature. Organic mulch should be applied in a two to 3-inch layer, expanding through the entire area under a tree’s canopy. Before you spread the mulch, make sure that you water the root system sufficiently.
Water at the Right Time
During a typical summer, even without drought, trees require more water than any other time of the year due to excess heat. To limit your water use even on the hottest of days, do not water your trees during peak temperature times. Doing so may cause excess evaporation, even before the water reaches the root systems.
Water your tree’s root systems slowly to avoid root rot, and aim to do so between 10 pm and 6 am.
Fertilize Throughout the Year
For stronger, healthier trees that are more prone to survive tough droughts, ensure that you’re applying fertilizer all year. However, applying nitrogen-based fertilizer during the early summer months helps the trees best absorb this vital nutrient. If you need help deciding the right balance of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous for your trees, speak to a professional arborist in your local area.
Regular Pruning Helps Keep Trees Healthy
If you want to protect your trees from challenging elements such as extreme heat, have your trees pruned regularly by a professional pruner. By removing dead, diseased, and damaged branches, your tree can preserve its water supply by only having to share the available water with healthy and thriving areas of its trunk and branches.
Save Water by Knowing How Much to Use
When it comes to determining the correct amount of water to use on your trees, there are multiple techniques used by professional arborists. Some say that 10 gallons of water should be added for every inch of the diameter of the tree. Another method is to use between one-half and two-thirds of a gallon for every square foot of soil underneath the drip zone. Do your research, and find out exactly how much water is necessary for your trees to survive the toughest of droughts.
Droughts are tough on all vegetation, but the beautiful, and often, sentimental trees on your property deserve the extra attention to keep them strong and blossoming. Jackson Tree Service has been providing advice, pruning services, and emergency tree care for residents of St. Louis, MO for over 50 years. Whether you have a question regarding the health of your trees or need help treating suspected disease, contact us today and schedule an appointment with our tree experts.