Gardening column: Imagine a world without trees

Trees provide social, environmental and economic benefits in our community for years to come. 

They offer us a sense of peace and harmony which reduces stress.

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Our trees work hard at improving our air that we breathe and moderate our climate. They also provide shade during these hot days of summer which can lower cooling costs for your home and reduce heating costs in the winter by acting as a windbreak.

It is not hard to see that we have many trees under drought stress right now. 

Dry soil conditions can significantly reduce the life span of your valuable landscape trees.

We all know how expensive and difficult it is to replace your trees. You need to pay special attention during these hot, dry days of summer.

Some indications of a serious problem with your trees may be signs of wilting leaves, loss of needles, yellowing of leaves, premature autumn colour, early leaf drop and sappy spots on branches.

Most of a tree’s roots are within the top 12 inches of soil. Trees need slow, deep watering every five to seven days during drought periods. Remember, a tree’s root zone may extend well beyond the tree canopy. 

A great way to water is to put a sprinkler under the tree. Place a coffee can close by and run the sprinkler slowly until two inches of water has been collected. 

The best time to water is in the morning. Be sure to follow your watering restrictions.

A couple of inches of organic mulch, such as wood chips, will help retain moisture. 

Make sure to water well before adding the mulch. During severe drought, limit pruning and fertilizing. 

Keep an eye on the trees on boulevards in your neighbourhood. Now that you know the signs of stress, take time to give these thirsty trees a drink at least once a week. 

Contact your local arborist to assist you with any serious problems you may have with your trees.

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club.  More information can be found at RichmondGardenClub.ca.

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