May 24

Protecting Trees During Heat Waves and Droughts

Summers seem to be getting hotter as they come and go and that hot, dry weather that summer brings can put a lot of stress on trees. Drought conditions during heat waves are especially hard on landscape plants as the lack of hydration leaves them vulnerable to insect/pest and disease damage.

For a nursery or landscape retailer, damage done to landscape trees (which are the most valuable landscape plant that are sold) can have a negative impact on their bottom line because wilted and insect damaged trees will not sell.

Employing the following tips written by South Pleasantburg Nursery for landscape tree care can help nurseries and landscape retailers to protect their assets and avoid losing inventory.

Identify
Wilting and curling leaves will appear on drought stressed deciduous trees. Leaf edges will eventually turn brown and crispy and may drop prematurely. Evergreen needles will begin to turn brown at the tips. As the drought continues the entire needle will turn brown.

Prioritize
Generally, the trees most at risk are those that are newly planted or transplanted. The root system of these plants is underdeveloped or has been damaged. Trees that are growing in a restricted area should also be of greater concern. This will include tree planted in containers, the grass strip between the street and sidewalk and trees grown adjacent to your house or driveway. Drought-sensitive plants like birches, beeches, dogwoods, Japanese maples and magnolias should also be given priority during drought conditions.

Water
It is best to begin good watering practices before the tree succumbs to drought stress. Trees need approximately one inch of water per week. If Mother Nature is not supplying it then you should.

Methods
It is best for the tree if the required water is applied all at one time to the soil, slowly and deeply. This can be accomplished by using irrigation bags on newly planted or small trees. Trees in a restricted area are best watered with a slow dripping hose placed at the base of the tree and moved frequently for even distribution. For larger trees, a soaker hose laid in a spiral pattern, radiating from the tree trunk out to the drip line, works well.

Following these steps can keep a nursery or landscape retailer’s inventory healthy throughout heat waves and droughts.

In the event that droughts are so severe that water usage becomes limited, it is always a good idea to have a program in place like GrowPro (link to GP page) that can typically offer nurseries and landscape retailers coverage should inventory be lost.

For more information visit GrowPro.

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