Moisture deficiency from drought is the most common stress encountered in the landscape. Usually, this is a temporary condition and has minimal impact on plants. Periodically, drought conditions may persist from several months to years and can significantly affect plant health and survival. New plantings that have not become established and very old plants are most impacted by drought.
Moisture stress adversely impacts virtually every process in the plant including:
- Reduced food (photosynthates) production
- Reduced growth
- Fine root mortality
- Reduced nutrient absorption
Plants stressed by drought are more susceptible to certain pest problems including boring insects and stem and root disease pathogens. These secondary invaders are often responsible for the ultimate decline and death of the plant.
With drought seemingly becoming more severe and intense in many regions, landscaping with drought tolerant species should be considered whenever possible. Integrating large mulch beds into landscapes help conserve soil moisture and reduces the competition for water from trees, turf, and other ground covers. Proactive plant health care programs like those offered at Bartlett Tree Expert are important so if drought and water restrictions develop, plants can better tolerate the resulting stress. During droughts, plants should be monitored closely for pest problems and treatments applied as needed to prevent additional damage.