Rain, Rain, Go Away
Updated: Sep 18, 2018
Normally, rain is a welcomed relief on our landscapes, especially after a period of hot weather. Rainstorms provide water which feeds the trees and also strengthens the entire tree as well as its roots. As much as rainstorms are essential for the proper growth of trees and other vegetation, it can be equally destructive.
Depending on the severity of the storm, it can strip off leaves, break branches or even uproot the entire tree. This is highly dangerous especially when it happens in close proximity to residential or commercial areas. People could get harmed and property could get destroyed. In this case, it is important for business and residential owners as well as landscapers and arborists to fully understand the effects of rain storms. This way, we can actually learn how to prevent storm damage, protect the trees and even benefit from rain storms.
Effects of Rainstorms on Trees
During a storm, it is difficult to identify the effects of heavy rain on trees. The extent of the damage can only be determined after the storm in several ways.
1. General Tree Stress
Trees use their roots for perspiration. They use the air spaces in the soil to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Soggy soil interrupts this process hence causing plant distress.
2. Leaf Defoliation
Another way to determine the extent of tree damage after a storm is by examining the state of the leaves. In this case, foliage will turn yellow and then fall off. This is particularly so in the inner part of the canopy. The longer defoliation goes on, the more the trees experience distress.
3. Root Problems
Firm soil makes plants stable. On the other hand, soil that has absorbed too much water will make the roots of the tree loose hence giving them an unnatural sway. This may interfere with the health of a young tree or even cause further plant distress. In this case, root problems can be determined if there is a mound of soil at the opposite side of the lean.
Excessive water in the soil can also cause the roots to rot and the growth of organisms that accelerate this condition. Root decay can also be symbolized by fungal fruiting bodies which occur close to the roots or at the base of the trunk.
4. Stunted Tree Growth
Puddles form by the tree, which in turn can lead to damage to the tree's growth. Things like fungus phytophthora can form, which can specifically harm maples, azalea, rhododendron, dogwood, madrone, oak, avocado, eucalyptus, pine, bottlebrush, holly, yew, boxwood, cedar, cypress, and juniper; root decline could also occur.
The best way to manage rain damage is through drainage. In this case, you should consider putting a 3-4 inch layer of mulch along the drip line of the tree. Draining the water out will give the trees a better chance of regaining health or even reversing the damage caused. Remember, this is not the time to apply fertilizer to your trees especially if they are stressed. Fertilizer will stimulate growth that the already weak tree cannot support which causes even more stress. Call Jersey Tree Care 201-366-2624.