Now that California is years into its drought, you may have noticed your trees are a little under the weather. We usually think of trees as big, tough giants that outlast even our lifetimes. They’re there when we’re young and keep going when we’re gone.

But that doesn’t mean they’re invincible—they need water to survive just like we do. Now that the drought has gone on for a number of years, you may have started to notice signs that your tree is under drought stress.

Drought Stress Symptoms

Depending on the type of trees you have on your property, you’ll notice slightly different symptoms indicating drought stress. The symptoms will be apparent in the tree’s most vital and most fragile part: the leaves.

For deciduous trees, you’ll notice browning on the outside edges and/or between the veins of the leaves. Leaves can also wilt, curl at the edges, or yellow prematurely.

You may also notice scorch, where otherwise seemingly healthy leaves appear as if they have been burned. Leaf scorch can look like random browning and can be the sign of a serious bacterial infection.

The needles on evergreen trees exhibit similar symptoms, changing colors to yellow, purple, or red, and/or browning from the tip toward the twig.

In a prolonged drought (such as the one we’re currently experiencing), the tree may begin producing smaller leaves. Leaves may also begin dropping prematurely or even stop dropping altogether, even though they’re brown.

Dangerous Secondary Issues

These are the symptoms you’ll most likely notice if your tree is undergoing drought stress. Drought stress doesn’t necessarily mean that your tree is dying, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs.

The most dangerous part of drought stress is the secondary issues that can occur while your tree is in a weakened state. As your tree is struggling to survive, other maladies are free to afflict it.

Insect infestation and disease/infection are much more common once a tree is under stress. While a tree may survive even these alone, the combination of drought stress and infection can easily overwhelm.

Your tree may also have unseen issues in its root system, especially during a prolonged drought. If your tree has been experiencing symptoms of drought stress for some time, it’s important to call an expert for an inspection. Root loss can put a tree at extreme risk for toppling, especially in a storm.

Call Vintage Tree Care to Protect Your Trees

If any of your trees is undergoing drought stress, give them the care they need! Vintage Tree Care can help you diagnose, treat, and prevent drought stress in your trees. Give us a call at (707) 953-9494 to schedule an appointment for tree maintenance services in Sonoma County!