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Lawn Care Blog

Are Your Plants Dying this Summer? Find Out How to Save Them!

Drought Stress in ShrubsI don’t think that it is news to anybody that it is DRY in Ohio right now.  Dealing with dry conditions in the green industry is natural, and usually something that we are discussing in mid- August.  The problem is that we are only in July.  Here are some thoughts on keeping your trees and shrubs alive during this dry time.

This Isn't Last Year...

As most of you recall, last year we saw record amounts of rain.  Obviously we need rain to help our plants grow, but sometimes excessive amounts of rain can be damaging.  Roots need air in order to grow, and when we receive large amounts of rain, the soil air spaces are filled with water.  This causes decreased growth by the root system, as well as soil born diseases.  Why are we concerned about last years rain?  It is possible that some of your trees and shrubs lost some of their root systems during the excessively moist conditions.  This in turn creates a root zone that isn’t as strong to handle drought conditions this year.

Drought Stress In Trees & Shrubs!

We are starting to see trees and shrubs that are in need of water.  Normally at this time of the year we are more concerned with diseases and insects.  However many trees and shrubs including maples, pears, burning bushes and others are showing signs of drought stress.  These plants rarely show signs of stress however the current weather patterns are something we rarely see this time of the year.  A plant that shows signs of drought stress such as leaf scorch, wilting leaves, or leaf loss needs to be watered. 

How much water?

Below is a table that gives you an idea of how much water your trees will need.

Tree crown
spread (ft)

Gallons of
Water 

Minutes of Watering

6

20

3-4

8

30

5-6

10

50

8-10

12

70

11-14

16

125

20-25

20

200

30-40

*Table modified from Watering Instructions by Michigan State University. 6/8/12

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Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.