Trees are living things as well like us humans. They have needs that must be met in order to grow and thrive in an increasingly inhospitable planet. It also means that they get affected too by a myriad of factors that likewise affects human beings. The climate, pollution, human activities, etc. all make survival doubly harder for every single one of us. Imagine yourself suffering from the extreme heat at this time of the year. You are not alone. Trees feel the heat too and if you just give them the time of day and look a little closer, you’d see them drying up from top to bottom.
Our first instinct is to increase our water intake to fight the heat. It makes perfect sense actually and it is probably our survival instinct taking over that we immediately reach out for a cool and refreshing glass of water to quench our thirst and beat the heat. Plants need as much water too. Seeing tree trunks and barks drying and cracking is a strong indicator that it is likewise in dire need of water and some TLC.
It’s been several weeks since Grande Prairie has seen significant rainfall, and its starting to show. The city’s parks department says local trees are showing signs of drought stress, which is forcing some into early dormancy.
Some of the symptoms include yellowing leaves and dying branches, and without some relief, they could be killed over the winter. The city is asking residents to consider watering their trees and shrubs over the next few days to help, as they will need enough reserves to last them through to next spring.
In order to properly water a tree, people should turn their hose to a trickle, and leave it where rain would normally drip off of its branches. It should be left in several spots for a total of an hour.
“Grass consumes a significant amount of water so shallow, frequent watering does little to
help trees” it’s explained in a release. “Deep, infrequent watering (once every two weeks for mature trees) is much more effective.”
But while watering plants and trees help them overcome the heat and lets them stay hydrated all day-long, it isn’t always an easy thing to do. First, droughts are becoming quite common now, so water is becoming more of a precious commodity that no longer always comes for free. Then, the summer months are longer and more intense perhaps because of climate change. Once trees lose their color, dry up, and begin to wilt, they become susceptible as well to disease and insect infestation. Even the oldest and biggest of trees have a hard time staying healthy during long and dry summer spells.
As the number of droughts increases globally, scientists are working to develop predictions of how future parched conditions will affect plants, especially trees.
New results published today in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution by 62 scientists, led by Henry Adams at Oklahoma State University, synthesized research from drought manipulation studies and revealed the mechanisms by which tree deaths happen.
“Understanding drought is critical to managing our nation’s forests,” says Lina Patino, a section head in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Earth Sciences, which co-funded the study through its Critical Zone Observatories program. “This research will help us more accurately predict how trees will respond to environmental stresses, whether drought, insect damage or disease.”
Adds Liz Blood, director of NSF’s MacroSystems Biology program, which co-funded the research, “Droughts are simultaneously happening over large regions of the globe, affecting forests with very different trees. The discovery of how droughts cause mortality in trees, regardless of the type of tree, allows us to make better regional-scale predictions of droughts’ effects on forests.”
When it is the time of the year when the heat is just too much and you can’t possibly move a tree somewhere else cooler, try to eliminate any other factors that can cause further stress to the tree like creepy, crawling insects. And while we like to believe that water is the answer to trees drying issues, there is a proper method to watering down a tree. Water it gradually and at soil level. Sprinklers aren’t ideal since only the top soil is soaked and the tree roots remain all dried up. Avoid over-watering it down too since it can drown the tree especially when the surrounding soil already appears soaked with water.
Trees that already died because of the heat and can no longer be salvaged better be removed from the land. Stumps can be problematic, though, as they are huge and grow deep into the ground. Experts at stump removal can help you with this one as they have the knowledge, skills, and manpower on how to do this right. https://www.allcleartree.com/stump-removal is a cost-effective way to get these dead tree stumps removed for good. Now, you can keep on caring for your (still) live and breathing trees and not waste your time, effort, and resources in something that is long gone.