Saving Your Trees

Trees are an integral part of any landscape. Keeping them green and healthy requires a proactive approach that reaches into every season, but especially the summer. Here is an excellent online PDF from the Texas Forest Service on "Watering Yard Trees During this Severe Drought."

Here also are a few tips from third-generation tree care expert Mark Chisholm on what to look for during the summer and moving in to the fall.

DROUGHT STRESS

When the heat is on, water is crucial to a plant’s survival. Yellowing leaves on hardwoods and ornamentals and yellowing or browning of evergreens can indicate a need for supplemental watering. Providing your trees with a cool drink can help a tree to stay healthy and help fight off any other afflictions it may have.

Texas gardening expert Neil Sperry says to pull a ring of soil up as a berm, then fill the berm with water and let it soak deeply into the ground. Or, let the water hose dribble slowly for an hour in each of several locations around the outer edge of the tree's canopy. Once again, you can save almost any established shade tree with just a few well-timed soakings each summer.

Marilyn Estates Association has a watering system in the 5400 block of South Braeswood. However, despite the watering, several of the trees donated by the City of Houston and planted in 2010 have not survived. MEA will continue to take care of all the plantings on the esplanade and hope for better weather this fall.

DISEASE AND INSECT DETECTION

Some diseases are easiest to identify in the late summer or early fall. Insects such as spider mites tend to increase in populations when the temperatures rise and rainfall dwindles off.

Tree care professionals, especially certified arborists, can help you identify these problems and provide a great starting point to learn more about your own trees. To find a reputable professional, visit the International Society of Arboriculture at www.treesaregood.org or the Tree Care Industry Association at www.treecaretips.org.

STORM DAMAGE

Summer storms can spell serious trouble both for you and your trees. Pruning out structural flaws and hazardous deadwood before a storm hits can help reduce damage. After a storm rolls through take great care to inspect your surroundings by looking up into the canopy and trying to identify any broken or damaged tree sections. If you find anything dangerous above the ground, call in a professional arborist to take a look and provide an expert opinion on the proper action to take. For more storm cleanup tips visit www.stihlusa.com/stormcleanup.