Horticulture Expert: Ongoing Drought is Stressing Our Trees
WAITE PARK -- Minnesota's continuing drought is affecting more than our lawns and gardens.
Katie Drewitz is a Horticulture Educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Office for Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties. She says our trees are very stressed too...
Our trees are very thirsty. If you think about how much water a tree absorbs and takes in throughout a year (and) if you look at about four feet off the ground...your trunk diameter...we estimate that a tree needs about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter. And that is, you know, on a regular basis.
Drewitz says if you're able to water, make sure to provide a slow trickle or sprinkler rather than spraying the tree with a hose.
Roots can exceed the perimeter of the tree's canopy so be sure you cover the entire root system. Drewitz says tree roots are generally only as deep as 18 inches below the soil and a lack of moisture in that soil deck can mean the tree isn't getting the needed water and nutrients up the trunk to its branches and leaves.
You should also avoid pruning trees during the drought to avoid adding additional stress to your trees.
Drewitz says if things don't improve over the next several months, we could be seeing the effects of the drought on our mature trees for the next 5-7 years.
If you have questions, Drewitz encourages you to call the U-of-M Extension Office at (320) 255-6169, Extension 1.
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