Most trees, even evergreens, will drop needles or leaves when they are stressed due to drought. This is part of the tree’s coping mechanism because of drought, detaching the portion that loses water. Of course, the trade-off is that the tree is also losing parts that photosynthesize. It’s a gentle balance.
Trees can lose all their leaves to drought and recovery. Sometimes they don’t. If a tree is severely stressed and sheds all its leaves, it could be unable to make enough photosynthates to harden off and endure the coming winter correctly.
One way to help trees recover from drought stress is to wait and see. If you need help, contact a Buffalo Tree Care Company.
The real test to see if a stressed tree will recover will occur in the springtime. In the meantime, try to keep your tree as comfortable as possible. If it doesn’t rain, water it once a week until the frost appears, Put down a layer of mulch as well.
You can also put down light fertilization that contains potassium and nitrogen. Some folks are concerned that fall fertilization will encourage late season growth and diminish cold hardiness. There isn’t any scientific evidence to support this once a tree has set a hard bud. Potassium has been proven to improve cold hardiness.
If the tree is leafing out as usual in the spring, there is probably some crown or branch die-back if the tree had substantial drought-induced leaf drop the summer before. When it comes to how much die-back is too much, it is all contingent on the tree owner’s patience, the tree, and its location.
If the new growth looks dynamic and branch die-back is only at the branches’ ends, an arborist will prune out the tips of the dead limbs and go from there. Simply put, trees are unusual organisms and can adjust to tolerating stress.
Don’t assume a tree that has shed it's leaves, even all its leaves, is dead. Give it an opportunity to recover and make the final decision in the spring.
Buffalo Tree Service wants to help you in every aspect of tree care available. We are here to give you tips, tricks, and helpful hints to make sure that you give all the love you can to your trees!
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