Drought and Your Trees: Understanding and Mitigating Drought Stress in Southlake’s Summer

Date August 01, 2023

Author TreeNewal Staff

A drought can be devastating for tree health, especially in hot desert climates like Southlake’s. Failing to provide proper care to trees during a drought can result in root rot, sensitivity increases, and cankers, all of which can threaten a tree’s health and appearance. Consider these helpful insights when preparing to get your trees through the next drought to ensure they survive feeling and looking as beautiful as ever.

Image via Flickr by treelinecamps

Signs of drought stress

If a tree lives for too long in a dry, hot period with insufficient care, it can begin to show signs of drought stress. Common signs of drought stress include slowed or irregular growth patterns, leaf rolling, shorter and spidery roots, and compounded soil. Each of these signs can point to dehydration and overheating, which can be devastating for the tree’s overall health. The exact signs that a tree exhibits depend on the type of tree, so it’s best to watch for all possible indications of drought stress.

Watering strategies

Watering is one of the easiest ways to care for a tree. Although drought conditions may limit water use, it’s helpful to water the trees whenever possible. Fully grown trees rarely need frequent watering, but during a drought, it can be beneficial to water them for a few hours every week. Since each tree may have specialized watering needs, adjust watering techniques as necessary by transitioning to sprinkler or hand-watering, depending on which may benefit the tree the most.
For most trees, it’s ideal to have 18-20 inches of moist soil. To check soil moisture levels around a tree, use a metal rod or other type of tool as a probe and thrust it into the ground. The probe glides through hydrated soil and stops when it hits dry soil. This shows you how deep the soil is moist.

Best practices for tree care during a drought

You can take many actions to manage tree care during a drought. One preventative measure against drought is to plant native trees that are resilient during periods of low moisture, such as birch and dogwood. Adding mulch to the soil around a tree can also help it fight damage from drought, as this can keep the soil cool and moist.

While it’s often wise to refrain from pruning or fertilizing trees during periods of high heat and dryness, trees can benefit from light pruning and fertilization during a drought in cases where they have dead branches or when fertilizer with biostimulants may help them regrow damaged roots.

These tips can keep your trees cool and hydrated during the hot Southlake summer. Beat the drought by using these strategies, and call TreeNewal for some help along the way. Our team of tree doctors is ready to help your trees beat the heat, even in a drought. Contact us to discuss your tree care needs today.