It's been too little moisture or too much moisture for Pratt County this year and trees are showing the results.
Lots of dry followed by lots of wet could pretty much describe precipitation in the Pratt area this year. And local trees are showing signs of too much of both.
Fungal problems, elm leaf beetles and a loss of iron have taken their toll on trees this year, said Pratt County Extension Agent Vicki Simonsen.
The county had no precipitation of any kind for four months. And trees, especially younger trees, need a good soak every two weeks while well established trees that are five years old or older should be soaked every two to three weeks, Simonsen said.
Trees can go three to four weeks between watering, depending on how much rain they have been getting.
Without out proper watering, trees can look sickly. When it is dry and hot, tree owners should be careful about spraying because it can be tough on the trees and they can show stress.
Area trees have been at- tacked by elm leaf beetles a couple of times this summer so they need to take care when spraying, Simonsen said.
Too much water can hamper tree growth because it hampers proper flow from the soil to the tree. With all the rain that has fallen recently, too much water has become a problem.
“With too much water, tree roots cannot pull nutrients out of the soil,” Simonsen said.
A lack of iron can also be a problem. Leaves will turn from bright green to yellow and have dark green veins. If a lack of iron recurs year after year, contact an ex- tension agent who will ex- amine the tree and develop a treatment plan.
Excessive water can also cause problems with fungus growth so homeowners need to keep track of their tree’s health. Fungus is caused by humid weather and there has been a lot of humid weather lately. Fungus growth is obvious on trees.
“You see spots on leaves. I’ve been seeing spots on the leaves,” Simonsen said. “If there is a lot of fungus, it will feed off a tree and weaken it.”
Normally, there is much less moisture during the summer and trees can have a rough time. But well watered trees tend to be resilient and should come back healthy the next spring.
When watering trees, its best to cycle the watering sequence. Give a thorough watering, then let it dry down before watering again. This will encourage more lower root development that will make the tree healthier, Simonsen said.
The elm leaf beetle can be a real problem. They have a gray larvae that eats leaves completely. If elm leaf beetles are on a tree or a neighbor’s tree, it is good to spray to prevent them from spreading. Proper tree watering can also help with an elm leaf beetle problem.
If beetles or other pests have attacked a tree, it is best to remove dead branches and leaves in the areas around the damage so that the insects won’t have an area to overwinter.
The best thing for good tree health is adequate watering. Not too much, not too little helps the tree fight disease and insects and fungus.