Arborist Dave Leonard reports that for lack of adequate rainfall or supplemental watering locally, many trees in Central Kentucky are very stressed, and some have even gone beyond the point of no return in our near-drought conditions. Leonard says that an average of about one inch of water or rain each week “keeps them happy.” He’s talking about water that actually soaks into the ground, rather than that which might just run off a heavy clay soil on a slope. Tree roots extend from the trunk and out under the ground even further than its branches, so water a large area. Give your trees a good soaking to help them survive. Here are some especially sensitive situations:
* Lowland-loving trees, like yellow poplar, sycamore, pin oak and river birch, require more water than some other types. Leonard is seeing the leaves turning color and drop already, as they usually do in fall. Leaves from the inner section of the branches, which photosynthesize at a lesser rate, are being sloughed off by the tree to conserve its water supply for the outer, more actively productive leaves. This is a sign of drought stress, as the tree self-protects. You can help by getting additional water to these trees.
* Recently planted trees, within the last three years, are particularly vulnerable, as they do not have completely established root systems. Baby them.
* Also needing supplemental watering are trees in confined areas: in raised medians, parking lot islands, and homes where they are in a small space surrounded by sidewalks, curbs, streets and driveways. Protect the investment you’ve made by making sure the trees are not drought stricken.
You can see from the two photos Leonard has shared, that the situation is critical. The baldcypress, he says, is already gone, and the honey locust is losing leaves. With this weekend’s temperatures predicted to be over 100 degrees F, this is a time for action.
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