Trees stressed due to drought in southeast Wisconsin
Jesse Ritka reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
GLENDALE - This drought has left not only the grass dry and brittle, but the trees are starting to feel the impact as well. Lawns and gutters are starting to become littered with fallen leaves, but the crisp crinkle of leaves and the beautiful colors of fall in July?
Bridget Windau has noticed the early change-over she tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka, "This is something really different that's ever happened in July especially, it's something you see in the fall when everything is dying so obviously there's a lack of water."
That lack of water has triggered the trees to start dropping their leaves early.
Hoppe Tree Service Arborist August Hoppe says they've had several calls so far this month asking about the ahead of schedule leaf drop, "People have seen a lot of problems this year with leaves falling. A lot of it's due to drought stress; trees are just shutting down a little earlier."
And for some, that means returning to raking a little earlier, "It's funny, it is and it's true, people have been raking, I've seen it. Fall's coming early this year," says Joel Rathmann.
Rathmann has been cutting and trimming trees during these dry conditions to help keep them healthy for Options for Community Growth.
So is this really fall in July? Hoppe thinks so, "Well it is, it really is. Trees, since we had that early spring in March with the unusual warm weather in March, all the trees came out earlier than normal."
But the golden yellows and fiery reds of fall do not paint a death sentence picture for trees young or old.
"Deciduous trees that lose their leaves at the end of the year, they can cope with that, they set up new leaves next year, so they'll be fine," Hoppe says. But if your tree doesn't normally lose its leaves in the fall, Hoppe believes you should call an arborist to check the tree out.
Though most trees are just conserving their water and energy under these dry conditions, "Trees are pulling the nutrients out of the leaves and storing them within the tree for the end of the season so they're starting to pull in those nutrients they need in order to stay alive and they're shedding the things that they're not going to need, which are going to be their leaves," Hoppe explains.
Hoppe says the best thing for the trees is a good watering, "The best way to water them is infrequent, deep waterings, so what that means is not sprinklers." Hoppe recommends a slow water flow from the hose for an hour once a week will do the trick.