Large trees were stressed last year as well, of course.
Healthy large trees have been able to absorb most of this drought stress. Their extensive root systems were able to seek out enough moisture in the ground so that leaves were not limited in any significant way, therefore, energy production wasn’t interrupted.
But large trees that may haven’t been quite so healthy are feeling the effects this year.
I’ve been out to see close to three dozen trees in the past two months, which a year ago seemed to be in good shape. This year, they are dropping leaves, showing branch die-back, or maybe never even leafed out in the spring.
Drought may not have been the ultimate cause for the demise of these trees, but it very likely was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In that light, it wouldn’t hurt to water your large tree from time to time, with a sprinkler that can distribute water over a wide area of the tree’s root-spread.
We are lucky to be having such a good rain year on the heels of a severe drought year. By doing additional watering now, we can really take full advantage of good precipitation to help our trees recover and establish themselves. This will translate to healthy, vigorous trees for years into the future., which we will be very happy for the next time drought comes our way.
Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley is Goshen’s city forester