Have several large mature trees and evergreen plantings this past summer and fall season all of a sudden died? Drought damage is the main cause.

Why did that happen? What’s going on? It’s already hard enough to see the amount of dead ash trees spread throughout the region. Knowing that our evergreens and some larger deciduous shade trees are also in decline is a cause for concern.

The Reasoning

Drought. In many situations, such as with evergreen screen plantings and some larger mature shade tree plantings, these trees have gone into massive decline or have died this past fall. Why? Simply put, this was a drought year. Due to weather inconsistencies, drought damage is on the rise. Our region went through some incredibly hot prolonged dry periods this past summer and it continued into the early fall. Trees need a drink too. Trees are very much like us humans. They need water and hydration. Especially during hot and dry drought like conditions like we had this past year in 2022.

What Can You Do?

What can be done to save my dead or dying tree? If your tree(s) suffered this past year and you can visibly see that the tree has declined but is not dead, or you’re willing to try and save what’s remaining… you should start with giving your tree more attention this coming year. Start by inspecting the tree and removing visibly dead branches and clean the tree/evergreen as needed. Inspect the drip zone of the tree (surface area under the branches of a plant).  Look for excessive mulch or debris on top of the root zone area and remove excess as needed. This will allow the tree to breathe. Inspect the tree(s) area for proper drainage and puddling in the drip zone area. Trees like humans can drown. Standing water around most trees is definitely not good!

Recommendations To Help

With proper love and care you can help save your favorite tree(s)!

Spring is coming and feeding your tree with proper fertilizer is a great way to help kickstart new growth. This also promotes healthy root systems. We recommend a simple granular feed such as Tree Tone for deciduous trees. Holly Tone can be used for all evergreen trees & bushes. These applications should be done soon, as spring weather is near. During the warmer, drier times throughout the year, the best thing you can do to help your struggling trees is to provide a liquid feed 2-4 times during the summer. This can also be done in between regular watering. Early fall is another great time of year to apply granular fertilizer as well as systemic insect control. All of these recommendations can help you maintain a healthy plant and avoid drought damage.

Holly Days Solutions

These helpful hints can help save your favorite plants. For those of you that may have lost some of your plants, our team is here to help! If you need a replacement, visit your local independently owned nurseries and seek the attention of a professional. At Holly Days, our specialty is helping you find a solution to your plant needs and implementing the correct routine care. Contact us, and our team will be sure to help you find the right solutions for your plants!

This article was written by Torrey Rose, owner, operator, and president of Holly Days Nursery. Torrey is a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturalist (PCH) and maintains his (ICPI) Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute certification as well. He actively maintains membership with (PLNA) Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association and was a member of the board of directors from 2015-2017. Torrey, of course, brings forever work experience, dedication, and lifelong passion to Holly Days Nursery & Landscaping each day. Read more about our Holly Days team.