Drought is about More than Brown Lawns

September 1, 2016

During a moderate or severe drought at Mount Auburn, we try to irrigate the new plantings that are zero (0) to five (5) years old, newly seeded lawn areas, and any trees that may have been stressed even before the drought began.  We anticipate that some lawn areas will go brown – that is, dormant – until rain comes back to the region to brighten up the grass.  But there’s another much more serious condition that is less well known.

Around 7:00AM on August 17, 2016, an otherwise ‘healthy’ limb dropped from an old oak tree for no apparent reason.  This dropping of a long and relatively horizontal limb is characteristic of a phenomenon known as “summer branch drop” or “sudden limb failure.”  There are different theories as to why this happens, but most experts believe it is partly due to a lack of adequate moisture in the soil.  Our full-time arborist staff continually evaluates our tree collection and corrects structural deficiencies; however, since the science is not fully known for this problem, it is always smart to be aware of your surroundings and if you hear a popping or tearing noise from a tree move quickly away from it and notify a staff member.

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