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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Landscape In Drought Conditions

Landscape Plants

Common symptoms of inadequate water for trees and shrubs include leaf scorch, wilting, premature coloration and leaf drop. The consequence of all of this is a reduction in carbohydrate production, leaving the plants experiencing stress and becoming more susceptible to damage by insects and diseases. In addition, if plants are stressed in the fall they are more susceptible to winter freezing damage and dieback.

Steps you can take during drought situations.

1. Irrigate plants thoroughly. Recently transplanted woody plants need special attention due to their limited root systems. During periods of prolonged drought even established plants need to be irrigated. Water slowly in order to percolate down into the soil rather than run off the surface. Containers that hold water and let moisture slowly trickle out can make this process easier. A commercially available product called a Treegater® does the job, as does a large plastic bucket with small holes drilled in the bottom or a soaker hose.

2. Mulch plants with a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic material (shredded bark, bark nuggets, wood chips, etc.) to conserve soil moisture, reduce weed problems and improve soil structure.

3. Inspect all plants for insect and disease problems and manage them as necessary.

4. Prune out dead branches immediately.

5. Do not fertilize. If fertilization is necessary, wait until adequate soil moisture is present to avoid fertilizer burn.

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