▶️ Brown pine needles; early leaf drop? Could be drought and heat stress

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This summer’s triple digit heat and drought stressed trees across the region.

As the weather cools and leaves start falling off deciduous trees, now is the time to start looking for signs of stress in your trees.

“There’s a lot of stressed-out trees…”

These elm trees were cut down because they threatened to drop limbs or fail entirely and hit homes as they fall.

“Your trees aren’t usually going to go into decline from one factor. Usually it’s a combination of things. Might be bugs, drought, fungus. Generally, referring to this summer, it’s probably going to be the heat and lack of water,” said Brett Miller, a certified arborist and owner of Central Oregon Tree Experts.

Miller says many property owners don’t realize trees need water on a regular basis and they need more water during heatwaves.

Lacking sufficient moisture, needles on evergreens will turn brown, and deciduous trees such as elms, birches and aspens, may drop their leaves early.

“If you see a wilt point or browning on the inside, that’s something you are going to see. If you see tops down or tips drooping and browning on your evergreens, definitely call somebody.”

The Oregon Department of Forestry reports many trees couldn’t pull moisture from the soil fast enough during the summer heatwaves, causing parts of trees to die.

Other tree species responded by limiting their water loss, but that reduced the rate of photosynthesis and stunted their growth.

All tree responses to heat weaken them and make them susceptible to insect infestation.

“I suggest you have your trees looked at in the spring or early summer after leaf out. That’s when they should be doing the most or being the healthiest,” Miller said. “If there’s problems, then you may have problems later.”

Miller encourages people who are concerned about the health of their trees to seek expert advice sooner rather than later.

You don’t want trees falling on your house in the middle of a winter storm.

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