Dry Winter Takes Toll on Trees - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Dry Winter Takes Toll on Trees

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Three straight dry winters is taking its toll on some of our area's plant life.

Pawl Hollis is the owner of Rail City Garden Center. He says that while some trees have come back strong, others are pretty dried out after going months without enough water. "We're cold and we're dry," Hollis said. "Not a good combination. The plants can handle the cold. They just can't handle the 10% humidity."
   
Trees are dormant during the winter, but still need water.  Now that spring is here, it's important not to over-water, but keep the soil damp.
"Should be about the consistency of a rung-out sponge," Hollis said. "A lot of people have a tendency to say 'I'm going to water every day.' Well, that's even worse for the tree. Then you're drowning the tree."

Hollis says both young and old trees are struggling this year.

"Not only are they stressed from a lack of water but then the bugs come in and start attacking it and that makes it even worse," Hollis said.

Many pine trees have turned a rusty color but they can still be saved.

Leafy trees should already be budding. "If it's not and the bark is shrunk and turned a different color, get rid of that, cut it out and possibly you'll have a chance of bringing the rest of the tree back," Hollis said.

Different products can also help your trees recover. Some break up the soil to help water reach the roots, a soaker hose can keep the soil hydrated, and one of the oldest remedies is a tonic. "You can put it in there and it will possibly kick-start that tree," Hollis said.

If you're planting a new tree, Hollis says it's important to dig a wide hole so that the roots can spread, but don't dig too deep. It's also a good idea to use a good organic material to fill in the hole.

Written by Paul Nelson

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