Spot the signs of drought stress in young trees?
Pay attention to the young trees in your garden and keep an eye out for signs of drought stress. The sooner you tackle the problem, the healthier your young trees will be and the better they will grow.
- Browning – leaves turning brown and fall off
- Undersized leaves – leaves that are smaller than usual
- Limited shoot growth – the tree does not show much sign of growth in the summer
- Wilted leaves – leaves are small and shrivelled
- Upward rolling of leaves – leaves curl upwards and start to look cylindrical
- Scorching – leaves look like they have been burnt by the sun
Prevent stress by watering young trees correctly
Give your trees a good soak
Watering trees is all about balance. The worst months for trees are June and July when the days are the long and hot, that is when they need the most water and a bit of extra TLC. With young trees, it is essential to give them a good soaking at least once a week to wet the root zone to a depth of 25 – 30 cm. Water the tree slowly and steadily to allow the water to seep deep into the soil.
You want your young trees to develop a strong, deep root system that anchors them firmly and enables them to access deeper water reserves from the soil. Try to avoid frequent light watering as this encourages the formation of a shallow root system and makes the trees less drought resistant. Just don’t let the soil dry out completely because then it becomes harder for the water to soak deeply into the soil. As soon as the tree shows signs of stress, increase the frequency of watering.
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing for young trees. Overwatering your trees can be as damaging as underwatering, so if your trees are not wilting and show no signs of drought stress, then they are getting enough water. Remember that even when the top of the soil dries out, the ground below the surface can still contain moisture.
Water at the right time of day
Tree pruning can help young trees in drought conditions