Soil and water

How to keep trees alive during severe Texas drought – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

With over 99% of Texas in drought conditions, it’s a challenge to conserve the resource and keep landscaping, like trees, healthy at the same time.

“We’re starting to see widespread drought stress in trees across the state,” Texas A&M Forest Service woodland ecologist Karl Flocke said in a news release. He also observed that some trees have started to die because of this stress.

“Many different species are dying off and F is rapidly declining,” Flocke said. “But in general, we see the greatest drought-induced mortality on oaks, some elms, hackberries, and even some junipers.”

The best solution to arrest the decline of healthy trees is to water them regularly.

Trees don’t function like cacti, they don’t store their own water, they draw their water from the ground and release it into the atmosphere – the process is called transpiration.

Due to the lack of a water storage system in addition to intense drought conditions, the trees must be watered regularly to survive.

The problem stems from the water restrictions that counties have put in place to conserve the limited resource.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF TREES WHILE CONSERVING WATER

First, well-established trees that show no signs of heat stress do not need to be watered. Newly planted saplings should be watered regularly.

You should also prioritize which trees you want to keep in your landscape. Flocke recommends focusing on trees that “have meaning to you for shade, beauty, or emotional significance.”

HOW TO LIMIT WATER WASTE AND INCREASE WATER RETENTION

Water in the morning or evening, when there will be less evaporation loss. Reduce overhead watering by using a hose or drip system instead of a sprinkler. Avoid chemical fertilizers, as they require more water. Instead, use compost to improve oxygen and water availability.

There has also been evidence of secondary pests and diseases and stressors. These are diseases that attack already stressed trees. For example, a winter storm or drought.

While these questions are important, they are not the main focus at this time.

Click here to stay informed about drought conditions in your area.