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Photo: - Vladitto

Water Your Trees and Lawn Where It Counts

September 16, 2013

Confused as to which season is ending and which one is about to begin?

Although you'll notice the calendar makes it pretty clear the first day of autumn falls on Sunday, Sept. 22 this year, Mother Nature doesn't always adhere to those dates. Instead, she often changes her "mood." The resulting unusual environmental conditions gets you caught up in the transition, unsure whether you should pack away your shorts and T-shirts just yet or resurface your sweaters from the depths of your closet earlier than planned.

The summer months delivered some heavy rains that saturated lawns with excessive water and moisture, while other regions suffered extreme heat and drought. Unfortunately, both cases present similar symptoms on your trees and turf. No matter the extreme weather conditions you've suffered this season, knowing the differences between parched and drowning roots can help you better prepare your landscape for fall.

High Heat. Very hot and dry weather can not only put stress on peo­ple, but also on our trees.

Excessively dry soil conditions can significantly reduce the life span of your valuable landscape trees. Be­cause they are difficult and expensive to replace, your trees need attention during and after drought periods.

drought recovery
Photo: - Ivan Kmit

Symptoms include wilted foliage, a sparse canopy of off-color and undersized leaves, leaf scorch, yellowing, leaf drop and premature fall color.

Perhaps even more life-threaten­ing than anything to a tree suffering drought is invasion by borers and disease-causing organisms that can happen as the tree is recuperating and still in a weakened state.

Solutions include watering appro­priately--slow, deep watering every five to seven days during drought is ideal for mature trees in 75- to 85-de­gree weather and every four to six days in 95- to 105-degree weather. For young or newly planted trees, slow and deep watering every three days is a good recommendation.

Water Works. Warm, excessively wet weather may have you seeing spots in your landscape.

Unless you're checking out the leopards at your local zoo or admiring a pointillism painting at your nearby art museum, then seeing spots probably isn't a good sign.

The spots we're referring to are those blemishes and blights that can appear in your lawn or on your tree leaves when warm, wet weather lingers, creating the perfect conditions for diseases to form and spread. These lesions or unusual patches can ruin your lush landscape vista--not to men­tion diminish property values.

As a result of weather's impact on your lawn and landscape, renovation may be necessary this fall to get your property back in shape. Lawn renovation ser­vices, such as core aeration and overseeding, can help reestablish desirable grasses and thicken turf to provide a stable, healthy base capable of better fighting weeds next spring.

So, while lengthy summer rains have kept lawns lush and green, they may have also had some negative effects, such as turf, shrub and tree diseases.

watering roots
Photo: - Alexander Potapov

Smart Sips. Whether your trees and shrubs are dry and brittle from the heat, or soaked and saturated from the rains, water them where they need it most.

Trees recovering from a harsh winter, temporarily coping with drought stress, or lacking a seasonal substitute for an irrigation system, can benefit from subsurface water­ing.

This "green innovation" gets to the root of the problem--and it's easy to implement. By placing water below grade, it is more efficiently distributed and less likely to run off or evaporate. The soil injection technique also bypasses slow soil infiltration rates of soils that contain high clay content, making it a viable alternative to surface watering.

The injection of water under pres­sure into the soil may also provide some soil compaction relief--an added benefit for your trees.

Need help? One of Davey's professionally trained arborists can help you learn more about the needs of your trees, shrubs and turf.

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