Questions from You:
Why are distorted, splotched leaves falling right now from my oaks and maples?
The tree roots are stressed from two to five years of drought conditions and are predisposed to fungal pathogens such as Tar Spot that appear on the leaves. Insects may also invade at this time, quite opportunistically. Trees will reach and shed these
leaves early as a defense mechanism. Remember, the amount and frequency of rain THROUGHOUT the growing season is most important to healthy plants. Food reserves are used up during and after drought to rebuild damaged internal systems. That further weakens the plant.
So the negative effects of drought may take months or years to manifest. And it may take years to recover. We recommend a deep watering in weeks like this one where rainfall is absent, right now until the ground freezes. This is especially important for newer woody plantings that went in during the past five years. Perennials should be fine.
Our fall deep root compost tea and soil amending programs can help, too, by providing nutrients to soil microorganisms that may have been depleted by drought stressed plants. A soil test helps us uncover these deficiencies. Remember, soil microorganisms work to combat harmful insect and disease life cycles that proliferate in the soil! Contact
for more information and to arrange for a site analysis by one of our Plant Health Care staff.
How can I make my landscape more resistant to tree and shrub disease issues?
In a nutshell, build diversity. Reduce the total number of any one species, for example boxwood. You'll then decrease the risk of losing many plants to a single disease and ensure that large amounts of inoculum cannot develop.
We can help you choose plants that are best adapted to your particular site conditions. You may love roses, but if you live in the woods, there will be far too much shade to grow them well, and they will always be predisposed to trouble from both pests and diseases. On the other hand, if you are out in a broad open space and exposed to sun and wind, choose drought tolerant species that are resilient such as herbs, silver leaved plants and native trees in the legume family.