Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Young trees stressed in heat

It is HOT out and has been for a LONG time.   No rain for a long time as well.  There is a tree planted at the pool, in memory of a friends daughter who died last year, and it is not looking too happy.   There is no shade for it to take comfort in and get relief from the heat so the pool staff has been watering it every day and doing their best to save it.  

I called my brother, the horticulture expert, to ask for some advice and thought I would pass it along to anyone interested.   Trees which have not taken root yet in their environment are susceptible to dying during high heat and drought.  They are still putting their energy into getting established and do not take off in growth for a year or two anyway.   Without water and time to get rooted they are spending all of their time and energy into surviving.   There are some things we can do to help them out.  

It is possible to water them TOO much.    It depends on what sort of soil they are planted in.   Clay soil will not drain well and so the tree can get too wet.   I suppose too wet means that their energy is then being placed in absorbing the water and dealing with too much at once while also taking care of the rest of it's process of staying alive.   In other words it adds yet another stress to add to its list.  

Fertilizer is not a good idea either.   It seems like it would be and it seemed that way to me, but fertilizer is usually used to promote growth and that is not what the tree needs either.   Survival.   Keep the energy there.

Water the tree tops.   The tree can gain moisture this way as well as from the roots.   I suppose that is the answer to why the tree perks up after a rain.    That moisture gets where it is needed faster.   I thought this was a very interesting tip.  

And.....mulch.   Mulch around the tree but not up against the trunk.   He recommended just basic mulch and not the red stuff or the cocoa bean stuff (kills dogs).  

Trim off the dead branches so that again......the tree is trying to heal those and also take care of the live parts so it will give the tree one less job to do.   I was thinking perhaps it would stress the tree but I suppose this too makes sense.  

I also suppose you could make some deep observation about trees and people.....please don't trim off my limbs or something to take away....stress????   Oh yeah, they aren't dead limbs.   Water me?   Fertilize me?   Okay.....people aren't trees so skip any deep thinking there.    

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