Friday, October 26, 2012

Drought Continues, and Trees Still Need Water

This week's update for Georgia on the U.S. Drought Monitor website shows that Cobb County is still experiencing extreme drought conditions. Sure, we've had some rain, but we are far enough behind that the deeper soils are dry. Here is the Oct. 23 update:

Overall, the state is in better shape with regard to rain this year than it was last year, with much of the agricultural southern end completely "caught up," but here in Cobb County we will need to keep track of the rain and the soil moisture levels a while longer.

Valuable landscape trees are of particular concern. These need to be kept watered, in spite of the cooler temperatures and falling leaves, according to the UGA publication "Watering Trees During Winter Drought." The publication was written for the 2007 drought, but the recommendations are just as applicable in 2012:

"Dormant season watering during a winter drought is important, especially for evergreen trees and juvenile hardwood trees that have not lost their leaves. Because of lower temperatures and relative humidity, much less water is required in the dormant season, but water is still needed. Drought conditions can lead to tree decline, pest problems, and non-recoverable damage. Supplemental watering can greatly assist in maintaining tree health during droughts - both during the growing season or during the dormant season."
The publication explains how to determine the amount of water needed and how to apply it safely, with a note to avoid watering when the soil surface temperature is below 40 degrees F.