By all accounts we are in the early to mid-stages of fall as evidenced by our cooler mornings, crisp clean air, leaf color change and oh yeah-football. What does all that have to do with my trees you ask? As a matter of fact, we are glad you asked because the summer of 2016 is one for the record books. As the second hottest summer on record with 90 days with temperature of 90’s degrees or more and a precipitation since January of only 32.71 inches compared to a 30 year average rainfall of 41.71 inches. It is a combination of factors that can lead to significant stress for your trees both young and old.
“My trees look OK so why should I be worried?”
How your trees look today may not be a good example or predictor of how they will look tomorrow, next spring or summer for that matter. Protecting your trees is protecting your investment whether financial or for most of us, aesthetic reasons. Trees for the most part do not exhibit signs of stress immediately. It takes time for the tree to give us signs that they are not happy or doing well. Since trees can’t get up and move, we need to be sensitive to their needs and help them overcome what Mother Nature has thrown at them in 2016.
What does having only 20.02 inches of rain since March have anything to do with my trees? We have droughts all the time. Great question, but keep in mind that a 24” diameter tree uses some 700 gallons of water a week to cool itself. That’s right, 700 gallons! Now that is a lot of water but where does the water come from when it has not rained for so long. Trees adapt well and likely have found sources to help but supplementing the trees needs can be a big benefit to their overall health. Entering fall, a typical dry time here in Atlanta, giving your trees a good soaking can help a lot.
It would be like taking a nice cool drink of water after an arduous workout, it just taste good. Your trees are not concerned with taste as much replenishing its water stores. Younger trees can adapt more easily to environmental stress like a drought but need attention like their older siblings because they don’t have the reserves of their older brothers. All that being said it is important to monitor your trees young and old.
Here is what you can do to help your trees during this unusual dry period.
- Provide additional water to your large trees under the drip zone to make the most out of your watering.
- Provide the water in sessions to re-wet the ground and allow the water to percolate.
- Give the trees roughly 10 gallons of water per trunk diameter. Another way to calculate is to take the trunk diameter x 5 minutes=total watering time. For example a 24” x 5 min/inch =120Min or 2 hours of watering. Remember it is best to give that water in a couple of different sessions to allow the water to percolate and wet the soil to be the most effective. Ideally use a drip hose to distribute the water over a greater area.
- Mulch is a great way to help your trees by holding in the moisture. Keep mulch either straw or hardwood to a depth of no more than 3”. This aids the tree in retaining what little water is available.
- Helping the trees with an injection of micro-nutrients, essential for chlorophyll production, organic extracts, along with a combination of endo and ecto Mycorrhizae, humates, and essential microbes to encourage root development.
- If unsure ask the experts to assess your trees and make recommendations. It is what professionals do-you don’t take your car to the landscaper so don’t let your neighbor diagnose your tree issues. Call Downey Trees, Inc. to help.