Q: My trees and shrubs struggled this year because of the drought. Will my plants recover?
A: Many plants are showing signs of distress this year due to the drought and extreme temperatures. Scorch, browning of leaves, leaf drop, and premature fall color are commonly seen due to this year’s weather conditions. Many plants seem to be perking up with the recent rains; however, significant damage may have already occurred. Young, not yet established plants, i.e., less than 3 years old, are at greatest risk of suffering long term damage. Established plants, given proper care, should not suffer any long-term damage. In either case, it will be a wait-and-see situation. It’s not too late to improve your trees’ and shrubs’ chances for survival. When rainfall is less than one inch per week, provide supplemental water weekly into November or until the ground freezes. Hopefully, this winter will bring ample precipitation and consistently cold temperatures to keep plants dormant. Simply stated fluctuating temperatures make plants more vulnerable to disease and insect problems as well as not keeping them in a dormant state throughout the winter. Plants that are sited in proper locations increase their chance of optimum growth. Pruning at the right time of the year will also go a long way to maintain trees and shrubs good health.