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Dry Trees
Posted May 19, 2017 | 12:41 PM

When Drought Threatens Your Landscape

Take action to prevent long-term damage

Trees and landscape plants add value and beauty to a community. They raise property values, lower energy bills, and provide food for wildlife, among other benefits.

So when extremely dry weather has Hillsborough County in its grip, don't forget the leafy sentinels outside your door. To ensure trees, ornamental plants, and turfgrass stand up to drought conditions, give them some help.

Sustained dry weather can kill or damage young and even well-established trees. It's not always easy to tell if they are stressed. Trees generally begin losing leaves at the hard-to-see center/top of the canopy. Sound irrigation practices can prevent this from happening or, in many cases, save a tree that is beginning to show signs of stress.

Ornamental plants face dry-weather challenges, too. A good way to cope with such conditions is to acquire drought-tolerant plants that add color and interest to your yard, and place them where they will thrive.

Forethought also will help turfgrass survive dry spells. Select turfgrass that is right for your yard and its intended use. Is your lawn mostly for looks, or does it get lots of traffic? Bahiagrass, for example, has good drought tolerance, stands up to moderate/heavy use, and generally needs less fertilizer than St. Augustine grass, the most popular turfgrass for Florida lawns.

Know your watering days and times, and act accordingly. Micro-irrigation of landscape beds uses less water than in-ground systems or traditional sprinklers.

Meanwhile, don't prune branches or fertilize during dry weather, or apply mulch, dig, or excessively walk beneath trees that are struggling to get by.

Hillsborough County Extension agents have information that can help your landscape survive prolonged stretches of dry weather. Have a question? Give them a call at (813) 744-5519 or email Hillsborough County Extension

Photo information: Helping your landscape survive during prolonged dry weather is challenging, but possible with a sound strategy.