Stillwater News Press

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August 16, 2012

Drought putting stress on trees in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — It’s only August but trees are starting to shed their leaves. Lawn and tree service owner Derrick Wittman said blame the drought.

“I love doing what I do,” Wittman said. “I pay attention to Mother Nature. When you start seeing leaves falling this time of the year ... that starts telling you that we’re having problems with Mother Nature.”

Wittman said there are other ways to tell if your tree may be in trouble.

“If your leaves are turning colors like fall or turning black; hedges these days are turning totally black on the top and that tells you that they are lacking water,” Wittman said. “They will become brittle and start breaking from windstorms and stuff of that nature that aren’t really strong.”

Wittman suggests regular watering will help stressed plants.

“More importantly than anything is getting a deep watering rather than a shallow watering,” Wittman said.

Oklahoma State University Professor of Forest Biology said watering depends on the size of the tree. He agrees with Wittman’s statement that a longer period of watering is better than a small amount daily.

“One of the best practices someone can do is to apply an organic mulch because it helps to retain soil moisture,” Hennessey said. “It keeps the heat from the sun from directly shining on the soil itself.”

The dry conditions are harmful because the state has seen back to back years of high temperatures and low rainfall, he said. Hennessey said Stillwater experienced it’s coldest winter in history two years ago.

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