As the oven like Texas summer nears, Central Texas begins to dry. This year, the lack of rain was not a problem and trees and lawns have been looking pretty good so far compared to previous years.
It may be however that the rain has passed us for a bit and we'll have to keep an eye out for water stress in our trees and shrubs. Residents with sprinkler systems throughout their yard often rely on this type of irrigation system to keep not only their grass, but the trees irrigated as well. This is why it is a a wrong assumption:
1. Water is only soaking the top inch of soil.
Lawn irrigation systems are designed for managing the grass, but does not take into account established trees. If the length of time in the system for watering each zone is less than 20 minutes, then it is unlikely to achieve saturation of the deepest roots of the trees.
2. The discharge head may not even be covering the root zone of the tree.
This is more likely to occur in larger yards. Ensure your system coverage is adequate to cover the drip line of the tree canopy.
3. In direct irrigation systems the soaking heads can be blocked or disconnected.
This is the first thing to check if you know that your system has worked well in the past but now the tree is looking wilted. If you have issues, it may be best to call one or our experienced arborists for a firm diagnosis.
4. Check overwatering.
Another issue that can be counterintuitive is overwatering. Strangely, overwatering can have the same symptoms as drought. With the exception of the species of trees growing in the marshes, most of the trees that sit in a mire begin to rot from the bottom up. One of the first signs people notice is a wilted appearance, affected by drought leaves. Most times, people worsen the problem by increasing the irrigation under a false impression of what the problem is. It may require partial excavation of the soil to determine the moisture level under a tree. If the tree in question is in an area that is low or an area with poor drainage, be sure to check before applying more water.
Texas Shade Tree Service is committed to helping Killeen trees in any way we can. If you have a tree that may have a health problem, give us a call and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced staff. Sometimes water stress can be the trigger that initiates a chain of mishaps that can lead to the loss of a tree. If detected early, however, a surprising number of treatments are available to mitigate such loss.
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The author is a digital nomad with a degree in biology. He is based where the wanderlust takes him.