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Drought Taking Toll On Trees

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KPLR) - The lack of water is withering your lawn. But it's also taking a toll on some of your older trees. You might not realize it but those big beasts in your front yard could be quietly withering away.

Karl Dreyer is a certified arborist with Davey Tree company.  He doesn't mince words when it comes to describing this summer. " I would label this as a catastrophic drought."

He's seen a lot of Oaks, Maples and Dogwoods drying up and dropping their leaves.

"And that's kind of a self defense mechanism in trees to shut down that tranporation process.  There's not enough moisture in the soil to uptake and support those leaves so the leaves drop off or brown up." said Karl Dreyer.  

But it's those senior saplings that you have to keep your eye on.

"We've lost trees.  We lost a record Sugarberry tree not too long ago.  Huge limb came out of an Oak tree, the kinds of things you wouldn't expect to happen in calm conditions." said Kirkwood's director of parks & recreation Murray Pounds.

Kirkwood has a voluntary ban, telling residents not to water their turf.  But your bark is okay.

"We call ourselves the Green Tree City so it's critical to us that we try to protect and maintain the trees where ever we can." said Murray Pounds.

Which is why Walker lake is watering some geriatric giants. The parks department is pumping a foot of water from the lake to keep trees hydrated.

"We are trying to protect the canopy trees that are an important part of kirkwood park.  The drought has reached the point where even mature trees like these require additional water for them to survive." said Murray Pounds.

You can do the same thing.

"What can be done is just water your trees.  Get a hose, put it on a trickle, put it at the base of your tree." said Karl Dreyer.

Remember to move it occasionally out towards the drip line of a tree to supplement the lack of rainfall.

Plants are like people and need the proper holistic care such as watering, fertilization, pruning mulching. They can get stressed and more susceptible to insects and disease. Bigger trees pull more moisture and you need that root system to stay moist