The Impact of Drought on Trees Admin October 25, 2021

The Impact of Drought on Trees

tree care

What Happens to Thirsty Trees in the San Diego Area?


It’s painful to watch the once beautiful trees on your property succumb to the effects of drought. You may wonder how you can properly maintain your landscaping beyond removing trees that don’t survive the impact of drought.

Rancho Coastal can help you choose drought-resistant trees to avoid going through the tree removal process year after year for your property in the San Diego area. Learn more about the short and long-term impacts of drought on trees and the tell-tale signs that indicate drought damage.

What Can Drought Do to Your Trees?

Short-term damage includes wilting, defoliation, and leaf scorch; these your tree may bounce back from the following year. Long-term damage takes years to recover from and includes stunted growth, the loss of branches, and, potentially, tree death.

Let’s look at the top problems caused by drought for San Diego trees:

    • Leaf scorch from a dry spell can cause the loss of the whole leaf if there’s no rain.

    • Stem dieback occurs when your tree loses its feeder roots. During the hotter months of the year, trees grow fine roots to collect more water near the surface. If drought conditions continue, these roots die. This makes it harder for the tree to take advantage of rain and irrigation water.

    • Upper branches die from the dry heat. Eventually, you’ll notice a diminished canopy of dead and dying limbs.

    • Pest problems occur when bark beetles and wood borers move in. These bugs live in weakened, sick trees and can invade rapidly. Additional species that may infest the tree include the black turpentine beetle and conifer bark beetles.

    • Beneficial insects may abandon the tree, allowing damaging pests to flourish.

    • Trees damaged by drought may lose the ability to isolate small wounds. This allows pathogens to invade the tree. Grayish spots on branches may indicate that your tree can no longer heal properly. To contain the damage, consider removing the infected branches with the help of Rancho Coastal’s skilled arborists.

Signs of Drought Stress in Trees

Early signs of drought show up in the leaves, and you may notice the following signs in drought-stressed trees:

    • Wilting and drooping leaves that recover by morning

    • Permanent wilting is a sign of advanced drought damage

    • Yellowing leaves that drop out of season

    • Defoliation or lack of leaves occur in long-term drought conditions

    • Bark cracks develop longitudinally and threaten the structural integrity of the tree

Rancho Coastal offers tree wellness services to our customers in San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, and Pacific Beach. We can also shore up drought damaged trees and try to save them.
Contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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