Drought Prevents Fall Colors, Trees Dormant Early

By: Stephanie Morrissey Email
By: Stephanie Morrissey Email

It's going to be a colorless fall. After a dry summer, leaves are skipping a few steps in their cycle. They're simply going into survival mode.

"What we have is plants going into early dormancy. If they were plants on the edge, plants that are real waters lovers or they're in a situation where they have a compromised root system or compromised growing environment, that's sort of the triple whammy," said Kim Todd, an Horticulture Specialist at UNL.

Without the proper nutrients now, some trees will stay dormant and eventually die. They won't have enough stored energy to perk up in the spring.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we lost a fair number of species especially newer plants that haven't gotten a well established root system. The older trees need moisture. We need to get it to them so they can make it through the winter months. We're really getting desperate," Todd said.

Trees that are beating the heat should make a healthy comeback next spring. But there's only one way to make sure that happens.

"Again, the main thing to do going into fall is to make sure on days you can apply water correctly into root zone, very slow, long watering to try and get tress and shrubs into reserves it needs," Todd said.

Todd says that trees should be taken care of just like any other plant because if they die, it will make life a lot less comfortable.

"Trees are older than many of buildings we live in. They provide shelter, cooling, and habitats. There's concern about where birds going. All of the landscape is a system," Todd said.

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