How to Help Trees and Plants Survive an Unexpected Heat Wave
Date August 11, 2022
The forecast for the next few days is looking hot, dry, and sunny. If you have plants in your yard, it’s important to take steps to protect them from the extreme heat. While you may not be able to predict when a heat wave will bear down on North Texas, understanding the signs of heat-stressed trees and being proactive in treating them can mean saving your tree’s life. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the symptoms of heat damage on trees and share tips from our professional tree care experts on how you can help protect your plants from the sun. Stay cool!
Signs of Heat Stressed Trees
The optimal temperature for most plants to thrive is between 59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. As temperatures often reach the triple digits in North Texas, plants are increasingly susceptible to heat stress.
Symptoms of heat damage on trees:
- Wilting leaves – rolling or cupping
- Leaf scorch
- Yellowing leaves
- Drooping branches
- Leaf, fruit, or blossom drop
- Reduced or halted new growth
- Stunted or distorted foliage
- Dying limbs
If you notice any of these signs on your trees, immediately contact a tree care specialist to help you diagnose tree health and provide a tree wellness plan.
Long-Term Impact of Heat Stress on Trees
When your trees are experiencing stress from the heat, it’s crucial to take action immediately as the effects of heat damage can be irreversible. Heat-damaged leaves can turn brown, crisp, and eventually fall off, affecting your landscape’s aesthetics and the tree’s ability to photosynthesize. When photosynthesis slows, trees begin to run out of energy, which can lead to the death and decline of your landscape.
For the tree as a whole, long-term heat damage can slow growth and exacerbate issues caused by other stressors like pests, disease, or construction, to name a few.
Long-Term Impact of Drought
Without sufficient water in the soil, trees will reach a point where they cannot absorb enough water to support the entire canopy. As temperatures continue to rise and water is insufficient, the tree leaves close their stomata, pores on the skin of leaves, stems, and other organs that control the gas exchange rate of the plant. Photosynthesis diminishes, and the plant slows growth to conserve resources.
If left untreated, heat-stressed trees and plants’ defenses weaken, which can lead to pests, disease infestation, and eventually, the death of your trees.
How to Protect Plants from Extreme Heat
While you can’t control the weather, there are steps you can take to protect your plants from sun damage during a heat wave.
Water Your Tree
Since heat waves can quickly dry the soil surface, shallow roots get easily dehydrated. To maintain optimal plant health during an unexpected heat wave, you should water your trees thoroughly.
For large trees, water out to the drip line, which extends as far as the canopy. This ensures that the root system is hydrated properly and evenly.
Watering your plants and shrubs in the morning minimizes the amount of water lost to evaporation on a hot day. It also prevents heat scald, which can cause damage to leaves watered with the sun beaming directly overhead.
Applying mulch around the base of your tree helps reduce water loss. Placing mulch directly on the surface of the soil keeps the top few inches moist and cool where most of a plant’s root activity occurs.
Protect Plants From Sun
Wrapping a piece of burlap around your tree’s trunk or using shade cloth for your garden plants and shrubs can protect them from sun damage. While temporary, this coverage can prevent heat damage by blocking out direct sunlight at its peak.
Keep Your Lawn at Least 3″ Tall
Keeping the grass on your lawn a little taller during heat wave-prone seasons provides shade for the soil and helps the soil’s ability to retain moisture. While 3″ is the minimum height, 6″ offers more soil shade.
How TreeNewal Can Help
Tree health hinges on proper conditions and proactive treatment to mitigate stressors resulting from unexpected heat waves, drought conditions, pests, disease, storms, or construction. If you are concerned about your tree’s health this season, our professional tree care experts are here to help.
TreeNewal offers a host of tree care services like tree watering, mulching, soil conditioning, and more. Our tree care experts will be able to diagnose your tree’s health and provide you with a custom tree wellness plan tailored to restoring and protecting your trees from extreme heat.
We’re a little different than the average tree services company.
Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!
Healthy trees, healthy lives.