Tuesday, August 1, 2017

our trees need water

We've seen news stories about serious flooding in parts of our metro area, but that rain has been very unevenly distributed. Many storms that dropped huge amounts of rain in areas north, west or south of us left little or nothing in Beverly or Morgan Park over the last several weeks. In the last week, I've seen a few things that were vivid reminders of how dry our soil really is here in the neighborhood.

In areas that have not been watered, I've seen cracks in the bone dry soil. Recently I saw a gingko tree (a very tough species) that had lost all its leaves and was starting to grow new ones after we had 1/2" of rain. I've also seen a few young, recently planted trees that had dropped all their leaves and looked like they were dead or in very tough shape.

Other signs of drought: oak trees dropping acorns prematurely (before they reach full size and ripeness), tree leaves looking withered or starting to drop. I have seen these signs in various locations around the neighborhood this week.

Ideally, 1 inch of rain per week will keep a tree healthy. We've had a occasional heavy rain since early May, but it's usually been of a brief enough duration that we've only gotten 0.1" or 0.2" of water - nowhere near enough to make up for the long-term lack of soaking rains.

Our trees need water to stay healthy. If you don't regularly water the lawn area around your trees, please consider using a soaker hose around the base of each tree, or using a sprinkler over the root area (at least the area of the tree canopy). In weeks when we don't get at least 1" of rain, letting it soak for at least an hour is a good idea. That will help our trees catch up and stay healthy.

Trees under extreme stress become more vulnerable to health issues from disease, infestation or damage. Drought is a form of stress that we can do something about. As of today, there's no significant chance of rain in the forecast for the next several days, continuing the pattern we've been seeing for weeks.

In the more extreme weather we're seeing now, we get more heavy rains and more extended periods of heat and minimal rain. This is hard on our trees when it happens year after year. Please be kind to our trees and help them live longer, healthier lives. This makes neighborhood and our environment healthier. 

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