How to care for trees during drought conditions

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Texas Trees Association reports 75.7% of the state is in a severe drought, with heat index values well over 100°F in many areas.

In these conditions, many are wondering how to go about caring for the trees on their property during a drought.

To start with, trees should be given priority over grass given the fact that grass can recover from a drought quickly, often re-establishing itself in a single season.

Trees do not come with the same resilience as lawns do.

Officials say trees should be watered deeply and slowly, and this is best done with a bubbler, multiple drip emitter, or a hand-held hose that can saturate a tree’s root zone.

Sprinkler systems work very well for lawn care, but they are not highly effective in terms of watering trees.

During drought conditions, it is best to water trees between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. During this window of time less water will evaporate due to the cooler conditions. Using mulch can help to conserve water and prevent weed competition for the water intended for the tree.

Do not fertilize or prune trees during the summer months since fertilizers promote growth the tree cannot sustain and the removal of any photosynthetic greenery takes food away from a tree that is already stressed. While water is scarce and the heat is abundant, you should only be removing dead or hazardous branches from the trees on your property.