Tips For Caring For Trees During A Drought

With the summer months approaching, drought conditions will become a problem in many areas of the country. If this affects you, it may leave you wondering how to deal with tree trimming on your property this year. If you want to be sure that you don't damage your tree or cause it to suffer more severe drought effects, there are some things that you should know. Here are a few tips to help you get your trees through the drought season.

Are Your Trees Stressed By Drought?

If you're not overly familiar with the effects of drought on trees, you may not know if the trees in your yard are suffering ill effects. In fact, insufficient water can cause damage to your trees that you may not even see for quite some time afterward. However, there are a few things you can watch for that may indicate that your trees are struggling with the drought.

The leaves of a tree that's suffering drought effects will turn yellow or brown. As the drought progresses, the leaves will curl in on the edges and may even wilt. Evergreen trees will gradually shift to a yellow or red hue with brown on the needle tips. The leaves will begin growing smaller and larger leaves will drop in an effort to preserve the resources of the tree.

Should You Trim During the Drought?

It's never a good idea to trim the branches of your trees during the drought or while the trees still show drought effects. Any time the tree is already stressed, you're risking damage. The purpose of trimming is to allow the tree to focus its efforts on new, healthy growth. The tree must be healthy and have sufficient water before it can do that.

What Can You Do To Help?

To help your trees through the drought period, you need to focus on deep, efficient watering. This ensures that the water gets to the roots, which is essential. Collect rainwater if necessary for extra water and make sure that you maximize any watering permitted by the town. If you run your shower, tub or kitchen sink for a minute to get the water to temperature, collect and use that water, too.

Water your trees gradually and for longer periods whenever possible. That way, you preserve the longer root structure. Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth, so long, deeper watering is definitely best. Aim for slow water flow over a half-hour to an hour if you can so that the water has plenty of time to soak.

Saturate the soil to a radius large enough that it matches the outer branch tips. It helps to ensure distribution of water to all of the roots. The saturated soil will distribute water down to the roots gradually so that the roots can absorb and use that water as effectively as possible.

Over time, you'll see color return to the leaves and they will start to sprout as new growth. When this happens, your tree is recovering well and should be able to tolerate trimming. If you aren't sure, reach out to a local tree service or check sites like for help.