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Drought Stress on Newly Planted Trees (06/08/17)

With nearly 1 quarter of North Dakota experiencing ‘moderate drought’ and the remainder of the state observing ‘abnormally dry’ conditions, recently planted trees may be suffering from drought stress.

Drought Stress on Newly Planted Trees

With nearly 1 quarter of North Dakota experiencing ‘moderate drought’ and the remainder of the state observing ‘abnormally dry’ conditions, recently planted trees may be suffering from drought stress. North Dakota Forest Service staff have observed moisture stress throughout the state; particularly in central and western North Dakota. Recently planted trees require adequate soil moisture for root systems to become established. Root system establishment can take 1 to 3 years depending on the soil type and species. During this establishment period, young trees and shrubs need frequent watering to prevent water stress.

Landowners and homeowners are encouraged to give newly planted trees supplemental water. Generally, landscape trees require 1 gallon of water per day per inch of caliper (diameter of stem at the base of the tree). Conservation grade trees (shelterbelt plantings) should receive a gallon of water every 2 days while hot dry conditions persist. Two to three inches of wood chip mulch spread just beyond the drip line of the trees will also assist in soil moisture retention.

Michael Kangas

North Dakota Forest Service

Nursery and State Forest Team Leader

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