By Whitney Dorer
October is here and yet the 10-day forecast still shows no sign of rain to come. As we humans are enjoying the dry, sunny, and not to mention beautiful days of fall, the trees that are providing us so many benefits are craving the rain!
This summer has been a tough one for young trees that are in their establishment period. We hit a record three-month dry spell. This recent Oregonian article talks about how it has been the driest three-month period in 71 years! Portland International Airport only received .25 inches of rain over the course of July, August and September. This beats the last record in 1952 of .51 inches.
Without regular deep watering, young trees struggle against the dry heat. Young trees are in the most danger of not getting enough water during these dry days. Some immediate indications that the tree is under stress due to lack of water include wilting and browning leaves. With continued lack of water, the roots are not able to absorb nutrients from the soil and the tree becomes more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Continuing to water your young trees until the rains begin will be important for their ability to establish in their new environment and thrive as they move into the dormant season.
Dorer is Neighborhood Trees Manager for Friends of Trees.