Summer in St. Louis can be brutal. In 2019, the city and surrounding areas experienced dangerous heat with indexes reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
While we can bring our loved ones and pets inside where it is nice and cool, we cannot do the same for our trees. Protecting young trees in the summer heat and drought is especially important as they are prone to transplant shock.
To protect your trees both young and old from the heat of summer and drought, follow these essential tips:
Water, If Needed
Watering seems like a simple easy task, right? It is, but consider these tips as you water:
The Age Of The Tree
Young newly planted trees are more prone to drought stress than older established trees. Be careful not to overwater. That can be just as harmful as drought stress. Older trees certainly benefit from supplemental watering during dry periods as well.
How Much Rain Your Area Has Been Getting
Watering trees is the single best thing you can do to insure your tree’s long term health. This is especially true for dry periods after a long extended wet spring. A wet spring will create lush growth on a tree and may increase leaf area.
Once the sky goes dry, those leaves can be a liability since this is the place where water evaporates from a tree. A big thick canopy of leaves can increase drought stress once the weather becomes hot and dry. In St. Louis, think of July Fourth as the time when you must start thinking about watering your trees.
The Type Of Soil You Have
Many experts will tell that well drained soil is best for tree growth. While some people have that luxury, most of us deal with clay and compacted soils that can resemble pavement when dry. Think of how roots must compete with that physical barrier simply to grow.
With compacted soils, its often necessary to water very slowly for a while to “pre-wet” the surface. This breaks the surface tension and any water added after “pre-wetting” will absorb a bit easier. See below for tips on watering slowly!
The Type Of Tree You Have
Some trees are very drought tolerant while others are sensitive to water logged soils. Read about your tree types to learn what demands they might have when it comes to watering. Bottom line is that nearly all trees will benefit from supplemental watering during dry periods. Ever look at a home with a lush green landscape and wonder what their secret is? Often, its simply that they water regularly.
Most important of all is how you water; its best to water with a slowly dripping hose, or a drip irrigation system. A slow watering will ensure that water moves down into the root system of the tree and not across the surface and down the street! Wasted water can be expensive!
Overhead irrigation sprinklers that run every day and cause water to run down the trunk may create a growing environment for disease that may harm the tree. In some cases, the tree develops wounds from the pressurized water hitting the trunk every day.
When watering your trees be sure to avoid over-saturating the soil and the water should not puddle around the tree for more than a minute or two. This is an indication that the area is overwatered. To check to see if you tree could benefit from a watering, do the screwdriver test: Stick a screwdriver into the soil and if it comes away dry, water your tree.
Add Mulch Around The Base Of Your Trees
Putting mulch around your trees may not seem as if it would help protect your trees from the summer heat, but it does. Mulch helps insulate the roots of your trees, keeping them cooler in the summer.
Mulch your trees correctly in the summer to help the soil retain its moisture. This means less watering in the long run and suppressed weeds.
Keep Your Trees Healthy
Your trees will be more able to withstand heat and drought when they have been properly cared for. The ISA certified arborists at Hansen’s Tree Service will come to your home and provide you with a hassle free estimate, evaluating your tree’s needs. Free of charge!
Then, we will work with you to find the best tree care solution for you.