AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas is breaking its record of one-hundred degree days on Friday, another high point in a sweltering summer. While we’re all feeling the heat, so are our trees.
“Without any rain, the soil is starting to dry out. And obviously, the roots of the trees are in the soil and looking for that water,” said Sarah Ruark, a technical advisor with The Davey Institute, part of Davey Tree.
“Over time, that’s going to weaken the tree because it’s under stress now, and that allows some secondary insects or diseases to come in, and really take advantage of the trees we can state.”
It’s not just this year’s extreme heat and drought impacting the trees, but also last year’s drought and the 2021 Winter Storm, according to Rourk.
“I’m noticing most trees have not really had a good chance to recover. And so they’re all feeling a little bit stressed out right now.”
Looking for a stressed tree
There are several signs that your tree is stressed and possibly sick or dying.
“Wilting of the leaves, they’ll be kind of droopy, and they might start curling up, you may even notice they’re looking like they’re getting burned around the edges. And some trees, they might even go early into their fall color and start dropping leaves,” Rourk said.
If you think your tree isn’t doing well, watering is the obvious answer. Rourk said you should take a different approach to watering your tree than you do a lawn.
“The trees roots are deeper in the soil. So you want to water for a longer period of time than you would water your lawn to really allow the water to soak down to where the roots are,” Rourk said.
Her advice: put your sprinkler on the lowest setting and then grab some dishes.
“Put a soup can or coffee can near the sprinkler and when it fills to two inches of water. That’s probably a good amount of water to put down for your tree.”