Effects of Drought on Your Trees

January 10, 2023

Drought and Your Trees

Texas has been experiencing drought conditions over the past several years. This trend is likely to continue. We have witnessed extreme drought conditions, unusual flooding, low temperatures and record highs. These extreme conditions are likely to continue. We need to be prepared for the consequences of drought on trees. Being able to care for your trees is an important part in coping with unpredictable weather conditions.

What is Drought and How Can It Affect You?

Is it possible to define a drought as a year with less than normal precipitation? Most likely. A drought is defined as an extended period of low rainfall with associated water shortage. The absence of rain is when the soil’s moisture levels are low enough to cause plant damage. Without water, plants, animals, and humans cannot survive. Water is vital for all biochemical and biological cell functions and helps transport nutrients from the soil into trees. It is, therefore, the most crucial element in a tree’s existence.

Your responsibility

It is essential to understand the tree’s health. Landowners, whether they are residential or business property, have the responsibility of caring for their trees. Because trees are an integral part of our landscape, it is important that you do not take this responsibility lightly. Even if you aren’t sure if anything is wrong with your trees or not, it is worth calling a certified arborist to evaluate their health. This should be done at the very least once every five to ten years. It is even more important in severe weather.

Assessment of tree health

If you notice that your tree doesn’t look up to standard, such as yellowing leaves or drooping leaves, call a professional to inspect it. A certified arborist has the ability to identify signs of drought stress within a tree. Trees may be in serious condition by the time they show signs of distress.

Obvious Signs of a Declining Tree

You may notice signs such as leaves turning strange colors, dying too quickly, wilting or turning brown. If your tree has branched or twigs that have died or become discolored, it may indicate that things are not right. If you notice any of these signs, it could be an indication that your tree is suffering from drought. You should immediately contact a professional.

Signs not-so-obvious

An arborist is trained to recognize the subtle signs that your tree might be in danger. If mushrooms grow around the tree’s foundation, it could be an indicator of trouble. An arborist will check for signs like termite and carpenter-ant activity as well as nesting holes.

The Root System

Tiny root hairs are tiny and grow from epidermal cell. They also feed the feeder roots. These tiny roots do not reach more than fifteen inches under the tree. If they aren’t treated quickly, the roots become fragile and dry out. Trees that are not tended to or watered by a caretaker will eventually die if they grow in forests or woodlands. Trees grown on private land have a greater likelihood of withstanding droughts if the owner is vigilant to their needs.

Distress Development

The long-term effect of drought on trees can occur over a number of years. After the drought has ended, a tree may not show signs and symptoms of drought distress for several years. It is crucial to care for your trees when they are in drought. Trees that have just been transplanted are particularly vulnerable to drought because their root systems are still developing. It can take up to two years for a tree’s root system become fully established.

Secondary Effects

Given the drought-related effects on trees we have discussed, there are secondary ones. A tree that is stressed due to lack or inadequate water is more likely to be infested by insects. An arborist certified in tree care will be able to identify termite and bark beetle infestations as well as other signs of insect damage. Drought conditions could also be responsible for tree diseases such as root or timber rot, cankers, and wilt.

Root Rot

Armillaria Root Rot, a disease that can attack drought-stricken tree plants, is one example. It is a fungus which attacks roots when they have been damaged by drought. This type of root rot invades the cambium tissues and can kill small trees within a few months. If the tree has a large root network, it may take several years to discover the disease.


Drought may cause Cytospora or Nectarial cankers and other cankers. Trees that are suffering from drought can become infected because they lack the water needed to sustain their systems. Verticillium can also infect trees that are drought-stressed.

Tree care

Your certified arborist can provide you with specific advice on how to take care of the trees on your land. If you want to ensure that your trees survive droughts, it is essential to follow the instructions. Proper watering, mulching, care and other measures can help your trees survive a drought. It is difficult to keep your trees healthy in Central Texas because of the variable climate. You should consult an arborist to ensure that they are well-trained to handle any extreme weather conditions. This will ensure that your trees provide shade and beauty over many years.

Serving Houston & all surrounding areas.

Getting started is easy, simply call, text or email us and we can schedule you with an appointment for your FREE ESTIMATE today.