A Tip from an Orlando Tree Doctor: Drought Isn’t Only From a Lack of Rain
Because we are often called in for tree removal and tree cutting in Orlando, we see many trees die because of a lack of water.
Trees require four resources to live: 1) sunlight 2) carbon dioxide 3) nutrients 4) water. Water drives all the processes within a tree from photosynthesis to root growth and nutrient uptake. As trees grow they invest energy in creating a root system that will support them in times when water is a scarce commodity. In urban landscapes we often create situations where the trees’ natural drought resistance is damaged or is circumvented. In these situations trees can be irreparably damaged by a lack of water.
Conditions that create drought susceptible trees:
- Construction that disrupts an established root system
- Soil compaction that damages an established root system
- Soil compaction that prevents new root proliferation
- Removal of organic materials that shade and retain soil moisture
- Irrigation that over waters trees, inhibiting tree root production
- Reducing watering schedules during drought periods
- Planting turfgrass and/or perennials immediately adjacent to trees
- Cold winters without adequate snow cover
While trees can survive initial drought conditions, prolonged periods of drought will stress trees making them susceptible to insects and diseases.
- Bronze birch borer on all birch species
- Two-lined chestnut borer on all oak species
- Flatheaded apple tree borer on flowering crabapples and pears
- Conifer bark beetles on pine, larch, and spruce
- Ash and lilac borer on all lilac and ash trees
Management of Trees for Drought Conditions
As with most tree problems, the best management strategy is to prevent trees from becoming susceptible to drought. Roots will grow where resources are plentiful. Water at the drip-line of the tree to increase root proliferation and drought tolerance.