Here are some things you can do to limit drought stress
Take it easy on the pruning
There’s no doubt that you should absolutely remove diseased and dead branches from your tree. But make sure you stop there. Lopping off live branches from a drought-stressed/at-risk tree can do even more harm. Not only does the tree have to spend significantly more energy to regenerate – it leaves the tree wide open to disease or attack from outside forces.
Organics are a must
Mulch helps to not only maintain soil temperatures and moisture better – but it also helps supercharge a trees nutrient intake. A good strategy with mulch is to go about 3-4 inches high around the tree while keeping it about 4-6 inches away from the trunk. And also – make sure it’s not touching the bark! When you use mulch, you can be sure that what water does come, will be utilized better and retained.
Figure out where the Drip Line is
The drip line is almost an imaginary ring around the outskirts of a tree ‘s canopy where the most mature, efficient roots exist. Why is this important? Think of it as a way to maximize the tree’s water intake. Those roots can suck up the most water the fastest while also expending the least amount of energy on the part of the tree. Making sure you’re watering within this ring is what will give your tree the best chance at bouncing back quickly.
Fertilizer – to do or not to do?
This really depends on whom you’re talking to – but let’s just leave the fertilizer question at this: If you want to use it – call a pro, have them choose the treatment and have them apply it. Why? Because in a drought situation, fertilizer can be really dangerous to a tree. Fertilizer just by it’s very nature sucks up a lot of water – and in doing that – not only pulls water away from a tree’s roots; but also makes the tree use nearly four times as much energy trying to process the fertilizer itself. The result can be burnt roots, water deficiency – even death. In droughts – every drop of water counts and the more that has to be allocated elsewhere is less for your tree.
Long story, short - we’d say that if you’re considering whether or not to use fertilizer, that you probably shouldn’t. But if you’re insistent or have a unique reason why – call a professional.