How Saturated Soils From Heavy Rains Impact Your Trees
June 26, 2019
When we get torrential downpours, like we’ve had recently, the soil around DFW can max out on its water-holding capacity. While it’s good for our water reservoirs and lakes to fill up, your trees could be drowning.
Healthy soil is made of up soil particles, microorganisms, water and spaces that hold air. When it rains very heavily over a short period of time, those air pockets fill up with water.
When the ground becomes too wet, the structural integrity of a tree’s root system can be compromised. Think of it as tree roots trying to hold up the entire tree in a bowl of soupy mud. There just might not be enough structural support to keep the tree upright. Additionally, tree roots can suffocate, as the air pockets have vanished & are now holding water. Throw in strong winds and your huge tree can topple over right from the base.
Keep in mind: trees that are already unhealthy from insect or disease pressures are even more in danger of failing in saturated soils.
How do you know if your tree is in danger?
If you are worried about your trees, one sign to watch for is soil heaving and cracking around the base of the tree. Soil heaving occurs after clay soils take on too much water and swell, pushing the soil upward. Look for soil heaving right at the base of trees. If heaving is extreme, it can cause a tree to become unbalanced and lean.s
If you missed soil heaving early on, but notice sudden and pronounced leaning of your tree, you may be in danger for root system giving way. Strong winds can make the problem worse.
What can you do?
If you notice a change in your trees, call a certified arborist immediately. They will be able to diagnose the severity of the situation to see if your tree can be saved, or if it is an imminent danger to people and structures below. They may recommend cabling and bracing to help fortify tree trunks or large branches.
If your trees are on a health care plan like SEASONS tree, you already receive a yearly arborist visit along with multiple applications of bio-fertilizer each year. Bio fertilizers help to nourish the soil and create strong roots.
Before saturated soils take a toll on your trees, it’s important to follow the steps below:
- Schedule a yearly tree check. Make sure you are on a yearly scheduled for inspection of all trees on your property. Oftentimes, arborists are able to see possible issues before they arise.
- Perform root flare exposure. Healthy trees are better able to withstand extreme weather. Therefore, exposed root flares are a must in keeping trees strong.
- Have the soil around your tree aerated. In compacted soil, air spaces are reduced, causing suffocation of roots. Aeration helps to open up the air spaces in the soil, allowing roots to breathe and expand.