Drought conditions stress trees - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drought conditions stress trees


66 percent of Iowa is in a moderate to severe drought.  Now trees are starting to show stress and drop their leaves. It's beginning to look like Autumn across the area.  There are a couple of reasons for the fall-like conditions.

"One of them is the drought. They're trying to reduce their leaf area so they don't transpire so much. But there's also insect and disease that are causing some of that," said Bryan Foster, an Iowa State Horticulturist.

According to Foster, the current insect infestation is about the same as last year. But with the lack of moisture, trees are more likely to show any type of stress. Watering your trees now is crucial.

"If you've got trees on your property that you want to have survive, you need to be watering right now," said Foster.

Trees planted within the last five years are most susceptible to dying from drought or disease. They must be watched closely and watered every day. But if you must plant new trees, they will need a little extra care.

"Make sure the hole you dig is twice as big as the root boll you're planting. Plant it just a little high since it'll settle down in the soil. You wouldn't want it to rot out. And ensure proper watering methods are taken," said Justin Kuehn, Manager at Earl May.

The best time to water any plant is during the early morning hours to avoid heat stress and disease development. A couple gallons of water a week and avoiding fertilizing your trees is also good advice for tree survival. But if the drought conditions continue to worsen, some trees may not survive into next year.

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