Can Your Trees Get Too Much Rain?
June 6, 2017
It seems logical that lots of extra rainfall, like we’re getting right now in DFW, would be good for our trees; good for everything, really. You’re looking for a big green up, right? Weather here in North Texas usually swings from one extreme to the other. Either we’re in a drought, or we’re getting flooded like we are now. It’s times like these when, while we’re thankful for rainfall, it could be too much of a good thing; one that could turn your green landscape to brown.
In regions where soils are more porous, and drainage is better, a heavy rain might not be too much to worry about. But our heavy clay soils here in North Texas just can’t handle repeated bouts of heavy rain without consequences to your trees and landscape plants. Suffocated roots (oxygen depletion), soil compaction, nutrient deficiencies, soil erosion, and soil heaving to name a few. Not to mention broken branches or toppled trees.
Heavy rains during spring and summer, when trees are actively growing and taking up nutrients at a quicker pace, can also do more damage than heavy rain during winter months. Young and stressed trees will be more susceptible to damage.
Roots that stay in saturated conditions are more susceptible to root rot diseases. The warm temperatures combined with the high humidity also bring with them a host of foliar fungal and bacterial diseases.
What can you do?
It’s never too late to care for your trees. If you can’t remember the last time you had your trees evaluated by an arborist, now is a good time to make that call. Certified arborists can identify issues before they become a hazard for you and your home.
Schedule an arborist evaluation.
Remove any excess mulch piled up around the base of your tree.
Be sure to cut back or turn off your automated irrigation system so you don’t add to the problem. Ensure the rain sensor is functional.
What can we do?
Aerate the soil around tree roots to allow for better oxygen flow. Exposing the root flare is another way to increase how much oxygen reaches your tree roots. Soil over roots also softens the bark creating wounds that allow pathogens to enter the tree.
Feed the soil and trees: Adding a nutrient boost of liquid compost to feed the soil and increase the beneficial microbes is a good step towards reviving the soil so in turn it revives your trees.
Treat for diseases: We use Eco-friendly methods to prevent and treat a host of fungal and bacterial diseases that can attack your trees during times of rain and humidity.
Bracing & cabling: Soil heaving means the soil reached its rain limit and is now swelling, causing the tree to potentially lift at the roots, putting it in danger to fall onto your home, car, neighbor’s property or more. If soil is heaving around your large trees, it may need a support system.
Know that if significant damage has been done to the root system of your tree, there is no overnight fix. It will take time and care to heal the tree and help it re-establish new supportive root growth. In extreme cases, we may recommend your tree be removed if we feel there is no safe way to support it long-term.
One very important thing you should know about heavy rain and flood damage to your trees is that (just like drought damage) it might not be obvious right away. Less dramatic effects of heavy rain and flooding can take a year or more to show up. So be sure to schedule next year’s arborist evaluation ahead of time.