A brief rainfall early Friday wasn't enough moisture to relieve parched trees showing signs of stress in the metro. The dry conditions could make stressed trees more susceptible to disease next spring, according to one local city forester.
Browning leaves and early leaf drop particularly among birch and box elder varieties are signs that drought is taking its toll on area trees.
"We've been a couple weeks now again without rain and the trees need that more constant rain flow of water," said Paul Buck, forester for the city of Plymouth.
Buck says stressed trees now could lead to weakened trees next spring and that makes them more susceptible to death and disease caused by opportunistic insects like borers and bark beetles.
"A lot of them are secondary pathogens, things that will come in only when a tree is stressed to a point where it can't defend itself," said Buck.
Cindy and Roger Hurd of Plymouth have noticed the different appearance of some of the trees each morning when they take a walk in the Plymouth Creek area.
"You can just tell that they're not the way they usually are," said Cindy Hurd. "I know in our yard we've got a lot more dry leaves on the ground."
According to Buck, it's not always easy to spot a stressed tree, but all trees can be protected and relieved of the stress with continued watering this fall.
"Put the hose out there on a slow trickle, just let it sit there for an hour or two and the water will find its way down to the [tree's] root system," said Buck. "If you have a big beautiful tree in your front yard, the pennies you're going to spend on watering that tree for a couple weeks through the fall are well spent."
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Friday, September 07, 2012