How Rain and Moisture Can Adversely Affect Tree Health — And What to Do About It
April showers bring May flowers — but what do they do for trees? While a little bit of rain can help parched trees thrive, too much water can adversely affect tree health. In fact, many trees and other landscape plants do not like to have “wet feet.” As any homeowner will attest, trees are an important part of a beautiful — and functional — landscape. Not only do they provide aesthetic value, but they also function as a windbreak, provide oxygen and habitat for many species, and help hold soil in place.
But if not taken care of properly, they can suffer from overwatering when excessive rains are in the forecast. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is a condition where the roots become waterlogged and unable to absorb oxygen. Excessive rains can cause flooding and soil erosion, which can damage the tree’s root system. Both conditions can cause a tree to become unhealthy or even die if left unchecked. It is important to understand how much water your trees need to keep them healthy and thriving in any weather condition.
The Problems Excess Moisture Can Cause in Your Treed Landscape
Excess moisture can cause a variety of problems and diseases in trees, ranging from root rot to fungal diseases. Moisture encourages the growth of fungi and bacteria, which can damage the roots and bark of trees. It can also cause decay in woody plants, leading to weakened branches or even death of the tree. In addition, excess moisture can make it difficult for trees to absorb nutrients from the soil, resulting in poor growth and health. Some symptoms to look for include:
- Yellowing of lower and inner needles and leaves and other symptoms like those of drought stress
- Wilting, scorching, leaf or needle drop, branch dieback, and even death
- Leaf spots, especially during periods of high humidity
- Signs of nutrient deficiencies such as leaf cupping, purpling, or yellowing
What Can a Homeowner Do to Increase Tree Health During Periods of Excess Moisture?
Homeowners should be aware of the potential risks posed by excess moisture on their trees. While water is essential for tree health, too much of it can result in root rot and other diseases that can greatly reduce the lifespan of a tree. Fortunately, there are several steps that homeowners can take to help ensure their trees remain healthy during periods of excess moisture. These include proper soil drainage, avoiding overwatering, mulching, and pruning. Taking these measures will help keep your trees healthy and strong even during periods of excessive rainfall or humidity. Here are some things to try:
First, Pull Back Mulch
Removing mulch from around the roots and trunk of trees that have been stressed by overwatering or excess moisture can help expose the soil, allowing evaporation to occur.
Let In Some Light
To speed evaporation from soil and from plant material, consider removing any low-hanging branches from the trees surrounding your ailing specimen. This will decrease the shade to allow the sun to aid in drying and increasing plant growth. Additionally, it will allow better air circulation for increased evaporation.
If there are dead limbs or plant material on your tree, remove them and rake up diseased material from beneath the tree. Removing fungal materials will decrease your tree’s chance of being reinfected by lingering spores.
Fertilize if Appropriate
If it looks like your plants are suffering nutrient deficiency due to excess moisture, consider using small amounts of a water-soluble fertilizer to assist in mitigating deficiencies and increasing plant health.
If you see that a particular area of your yard is suffering from saturated soils, consider using raised beds in that area, choosing trees that are more tolerant to moisture, or changing the drainage pattern of your yard to keep the area dryer.
Check with an Arborist
If your trees appear to be suffering from too much moisture, you should consider consulting an arborist to better understand the underlying causes and potential solutions. An arborist is trained in the science of tree care and can provide valuable insight into why your trees may be struggling with excess moisture. They can assess the conditions of the soil, identify any potential problems with drainage, and suggest appropriate treatments to help your trees thrive. Checking with an arborist is essential if you want to ensure that your trees stay healthy and vibrant for years to come.
Townsend Arborcare Can Help You Plant — and Trim — Responsibly
Trees are an essential part of the landscape. They provide shade, shelter, and beauty to any outdoor space. They also help to reduce air pollution and improve water quality, as well as providing habitat for wildlife. Trees can also help to reduce energy costs by providing natural cooling in hot climates and protection from wind in cold climates. By caring properly for our trees, we can create healthier and more beautiful landscapes that benefit us all.
At Townsend Arborcare, our tree care professionals have the expertise to ensure that your trees provide beauty and benefits in your landscape for years to come. If you think your trees may be suffering from overwatering or excess moisture, our team of certified arborists can assist you in creating a tree care plan that can help rescue trees with “wet feet.”
Protect your investment in your landscape. Contact a Townsend Arborcare consultant at 888-827-4802 to get fast, reliable assistance in treating trees that are suffering from excess moisture.
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