Let’s be real, last winters’ snow sucked. I remember thinking at Thanksgiving, “Oh it will get better, we have seen early seasons like this before, snow will come.” But it really never did. On top of the low snowpack we have also had a very dry spring and that has caused our plants and trees to become stressed.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) the state of Colorado ranges from exceptional drought in the southwest to no drought in the northeast. Here in Eagle County we are in severe to extreme drought. Thankfully there are currently no water restrictions but our domestic landscapes and the native areas are feeling the effects of the drought.
Now, we can’t change what has happened in the past, so what can we do?
That is the no brainer answer, right? But let’s dive a little deeper into what that really means. Our native landscape is used to receiving a heavy snowfall during winter and throughout the spring that snow melts at a somewhat steady rate. They are used to not receiving substantial rain until July or August. Native plants have adapted to the environment they live in, which is why they can thrive better during drought than our landscaped trees. Since a majority of trees in the valley didn’t have snow on them over winter and irrigation is turned off, the trees were already stressed coming into our dry spring. This set the trees up to be vulnerable to insects and diseases. The trees need deep and infrequent watering during dry winters and dry springs to help them store enough energy to make it through until the monsoons.
Image: This is an image of how dry the trees in this valley were coming out of winter before most people had their irrigation systems turned on.
Another element we should discuss is fertilization. During droughts trees are using all their energy to survive. Do you remember as a kid looking at the lines on tree stumps? You could see thick lines and thin lines and count the age of the tree. The thicker lines signified increase growth, meaning a good growing season and plenty of water and nutrients. Thin lines meant the tree was stressed and stored the energy rather than go through a major growth spurt. That being said, trees know when to store their energy and when to grow. Adding fertilizer to stimulate growth can actually be detrimental to drought stricken trees, so water is the best option. Most fertilizers stimulate a foliar growth to make the trees look nicer. There are types that are specific to root health. During drought if you choose to fertilize, make sure to choose wisely to help your tree through this rough time.
Image: With our injection wands we can provide your trees with the necessary water and fertilizer they need to thrive.
Old Growth offers multiple different options to help care for your drought stressed trees. Give us a call if you have questions or want to discuss what your trees might need most.
As always, use water wisely! Do a little rain dance to help the monsoons arrive with an abundance of rain.
*Featured image from The Denver Channel