How To Keep Your Trees Alive During Oklahoma's Drought

Friday, July 27th 2012, 7:46 pm
By: Tess Maune

The dry, hot weather is taking a toll on our trees, but an expert says it's not too late to save yours.

The sun is beating down, sprinklers are working overtime, and trees are feeling the heat.

Steve Grantham, director of operations with Up With Trees, said younger trees are taking the hardest hit, because they don't have a developed root system.

"The soil temperatures are elevated, because of the high temperatures and they're losing a lot of water. Their roots are stressed out," Grantham said.

But older trees are still reeling from the 2007 ice storm.

"They had damage and things like that, so they were already stressed out, and then we come into the drought. So, it's just kind of a cycle, a downward spiral," Grantham said.

Tulsa resident Faye Hoggatt said she spends as much time as she can keeping up with her yard, including her trees out front.

"This Japanese maple is dying, so I'm gonna have to replace it, I guess," Hoggatt said.

There may be no hope for Hoggatt's tree, but for others, hope is not lost.

Grantham said most tree roots are anywhere from 12 to 18 inches underground, so if a tree is looking sickly, the best medicine is a deep watering, under the branches.

"Basically, from the tip of one branch to the tip of the other, and all the area inside that, but in doing that, you want to do it for a long time, because if it's in a turf area, that grass is probably going to soak the first 20 minutes of water," Grantham said.

Grantham said 40 minutes of watering will do the trick.

"You want to saturate the area and you want it to be relatively infrequent, because you don't want to train your tree to expect it every couple of days," Grantham said.