Aug. 12, 2011 — SAN ANTONIO, Texas — With the Lone Star State mired in a record-breaking drought, the parched trees that dot the landscape can no longer depend solely on Mother Nature to quench their thirst.
Just like people, trees need water to survive. Without it, they can’t carry nutrients up into their leaves or push the sugar they create down into their roots.
During damper days, a mature tree — a mighty oak, flowering magnolia or even a stately pecan — likely could make-do with just the rain provided by Mother Nature. But as she gets stingier and stingier with her watering can, that’s just not the case anymore.
“We’re seeing trees dying now, and the longer this goes on, the worse it’s going to get,” said Paul Johnson, a Texas Forest Service regional urban forester in San Antonio. “If you’ve got a tree in your yard … it’s stressed.”
Watering is the single most important thing you can do for your tree during a drought. Without water, trees stop growing and drop their leaves in an act of self-preservation. As the drought worsens, so does the tree, making it more susceptible to a potentially-deadly insect infestation or disease.
“Trees are amazingly resilient so things look a little better now than I expected, but they’re still under serious stress,” Johnson said. “It’s worth the investment in your water bill to avoid the very real cost of having a tree removed, never mind losing the shade and cooling effect and all the other things trees do for us.”
The key is making sure you water the right amount, the right way, Johnson said, explaining that watering too much or too little can be just as detrimental.
Texas Forest Service tree experts have compiled a list of watering tips that can help you nurse your trees through the drought:
Contact:Paul Johnson, Regional Urban Forester210-494-4771 office, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Holly Huffman, Communications Specialist979-458-6605 office, email@example.com