As summer quickly approaches, we are seeing consecutive days above 90 degrees. This is what Minnesota living is all about, the hot and the cold. The good and the bad. The effects of the hotter weather with such little rain, is beginning to become a major issue for a lot of things and can cause tree stress.
The effects of a drought on trees and shrubs can be characterized as short term or long term.
- Short-term damage, caused by a dry spell, includes wilting, leaf scorch, and some defoliation.
- Long-term damage from drought happens over a period of years and includes stunted growth, branch die back, and possible death.
Many woody plants can take up to three years after drought to display negative longterm effects.
Just a few short years ago, we had a record rain year. It rained 15.89 inches by June 7th vs our 9.99 inches thus far this year in 2021. Our year end totals in 2019 were 54.28 inches which was 10 inches more than the record set in 1990.
Tree stress & Oak and Maple trees
That rain fall caused tree stress that we are still seeing today. Oak trees for instance have signs that mirror Oak Wilt, however it is still the distress and die back from the 2019 rain season. It can take a few years to show the severity of distress, especially in slow growing trees such as Oaks.
The lack of snow during the winter of 2020, along with the lack of rain showed major tree stress in trees such as Maples. If you look at your Maple tree and it appears to be sparser this season, precipitation is a key factor. If you remember, we also had a few late season cold snaps come through.
Within those days, we had already begun the “spring melt”, so the trees and woody plants had already started to thaw and force their energy into their buds. When the cold snap comes through, it tends to kill off the buds on the more sensitive trees, such as Crab Apples or Maples for instance. We are seeing a lot less blooms on our fruit trees which in turn will make this growing season a lot less fruitful.
What can you do to avoid tree stress?
Avoid tree stress by paying attention to the forecast
So what can you do for your trees. Pay attention to the forecast. As a lifelong Minnesotan I can attest to the lack of accurate weather forecasting first hand. Year round our team here at Alliance Tree Care is outside working to keep mother nature healthy to the best of our ability. That means we get to work in the elements. There are days when they powers that be call for rain or snow and nothing comes. That means we need to be able to adjust around the forecast.
Grab a hose to avoid tree stress
When you get home from work or log out remotely for the day it’s time to grab the hose and get moving. Take a hose and place it half way between the trunk of your tree and the furthest stem out on the end (the drip line). Ideally you should have a soaking that reaches depths from 9”-11”.
Of course you’re not going to run out and measure how deep the water is going, just make your best guess. A drip line or soaker hose can saturate the ground over many hours.
Avoid tree strees: move the hose around!
Move the hose around the tree about once per hour. We always tell our clients pretend there is a clock on the ground and start at 12 and move to 3 then 6 followed by 9 and you’re all done when you reach 12 again. If you are attempting to assist a tree beyond what Mother nature is able to do, the suggested water amount per tree is 10 gallons of water per week for every 1 inch of tree caliper. So for a 3 inch tree, that would take 30 gallons per week.
Trees, along with flowers are best to be watered first thing in the early morning or in the early evening before dark. This gives them the time to absorb the nutrients and moisture for best cellular respiration which consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide.
The purpose of leaves is to produce food by photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is the substance that gives trees their characteristic green color, which absorbs light energy. Without leaves, there is no energy for the tree to survive and no oxygen for us to breath.
Let’s go out of our way to take a little extra special care this season to make sure our trees have their necessary needs met. If you have any questions at all about your trees health, please feel free to contact our office through our client portal link or call our office at 651-335-9565. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for further updates on this years drought throughout the year.