Living green, surrounded by brown

Tips to help your trees survive a drought

You’ve listened to the experts, taken classes and done everything from mulching to spraying to soaking to standing on your head. You might have even done a rain dance.

And still, your tree — your pride and joy — looks like it might just be on its last leaf.

Drought can truly devastate the landscape. And with Texas in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record, your trees likely have already begun to feel the disastrous effects. Watching them wilt, it can sometimes feel as through there is little you can do to help your tree pull through.

But that’s not always the case.

Texas Forest Service tree experts have compiled a handful of helpful tips for folks trying to nurse their trees through this drought: 

1. Consult with a certified arborist before doing anything — building a home or extending a driveway — that could disrupt the root system.

2. Monitor trees for symptoms of stress. Trees are like people — when they’re under stress, they’re more susceptible to disease and insect attacks.

3. Don’t fertilize trees. Let the tree slow down its growth and respiration rate to compensate for the lack of water.

4. Don’t give up on the tree just because the leaves turn brown. The tree may have gone dormant this season. Keep watering. (Pine trees are the exception.)

5. Never prune your tree during a drought. It reduces the tree’s ability to make food, transport water and survive.

6. Don’t plant trees during this drought. It’s better to wait until the soil has regained some of its moisture.

7. And the most important thing: Water, water, water! Water slow, water steady and water regularly.

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2011-07-21 digital edition

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