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Jan 122012

From Green Right Now Reports

Although it’s less obvious during winter, with the fields and forests having gone dormant, Texas’ historic drought continues to claim casualties.

Trees, especially, remain at risk because they use the winter months to grow root systems, and the moisture in the soil will determine whether they’ll recover from 2011′s record drought and heat.

Oak trees in Austin may continue to suffer for lack of water during the winter.

The Texas Forest Service projects that up to 500 million trees statewide will die as a result of the 2011 drought, which was exacerbated by record-breaking heat.

But most homeowners won’t know how the trees on their property fared until the plants show signs of distress next season.

To give trees their best shot at survival, the non-profit Texas Tree Foundation has put out an alert advising people to maintain soil moisture up to 12 to 15″ deep around each specimen.

Take special care with trees that have been exposed to direct sun, dry winds or abnormally high temperatures (reflected heat from buildings can raise the temperature on foliage).

The Texas Tree Foundation advises tree owners to:

  • Deep water using a soaker hose at the drip line fo the tree. Let the water slowly trickle onto the area. One rule of thumb is to supply the tree with 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter every week.
  • Watch for signs of drought stress, but don’t cut down trees that may appear to have died. Water the tree inbetween periods of rain and wait for spring. Then, if the tree still looks to be in trouble, consult an arborist.

“A lot of trees are dormant right now and some went dormant early because of the drought as a defense mechanism,” said Matt Grubisich, Urban Forester for Texas Trees Foundation.

“Even with water restrictions, most municipalities will let you use a soaker hose, which is a great way to be able to water your trees.”

For more information about tree care and watering visit the website of the Texas Trees Foundation in Dallas.