Warm, dry fall days stress out trees, shrubs.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY KELLY MONITZ STAFF WRITER JIM LOCK­WOOD, staff writer, con­trib­uted to this stor y. Con­tact the writer: kmonitz@stan­dard­speaker.com; 570-501-3589

Peo­ple might en­joy warm, dry fall days, but such weather stresses out trees and shrubs, said Lou Vis­in­tainer, owner of Vis­in­tainer’s Nurs­ery in Drums.

Trees and shrubs — es­pe­cially those newly planted — need a good soak­ing rain or wa­ter­ing in the fall to sur­vive through the win­ter months, he said.

“We need rain to keep the plants go­ing,” Vis­in­tainer said. “The g round is very, very dry.”

There is no drought. Water lev­els in ev­ery county are in a nor mal range, ac­cord­ing to the state Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion’ s drought in­for­ma­tion web page. The DEP’s four cat­ego- ries in­clude nor mal water lev­els, drought watch, drought warn­ing and drought emer­gency.

The pre­vi­ous, most-re­cent DEP drought dec­la­ra­tions be­gan in sum­mer of 2016 for some coun­ties and ex­tended into 2017 be­fore be­ing lifted ear­lier this year.

Af­ter that, “We have not de­clared any drought,” DEP spokes­woman Colleen Con­nolly said in a phone in­ter­view Mon­day. “At this time, there is no drought ,” in­clud­ing watches, warn­ings or emer­gen­cies.

Fall is a crit­i­cal time for plants and the dry weather and heat puts stress on them. Ever­greens es­pe­cially need water to get through the win­ter, Vis­in­tainer said. If the water doesn’t get down to the roots and into the plant, the nee­dles will turn brown.

The re­cent rains weren’t enough to get down to the roots of many trees and shrubs, he said. The water only flowed a cou­ple inches into the ground, which is fine for grass which has shal­low roots, but not for other plants, Vis­in­tainer said.

The dry spell and war m nights are also af­fect­ing the area’s fall fo­liage sea­son.

The trees are slow to change this year and the colors aren’t as vivid, Vis­in­tainer said. Warm days and cool nights speed up the change, he said.

The rain over the week­end and Wed­nes­day may have perked up the trees, but more is needed, Vis­in­tainer said.

“If we get some rain, it would help ev­ery­thing,” he said.

Master Gar­dener Sandy Vis­in­tainer be­lieves the dry weather is caus­ing the leaves on the trees to tur n brown and f all of f be­fore they change color. Many trees lost leaves or died this year due to pests as well, she said.

“The color just isn’t there this year,” she noted.

Sandy Vis­in­tainer said the fall is an ex­cel­lent time to plant trees and shrubs, but peo­ple need to keep them well wa­tered so the root sys­tem can de­velop and the water can get into the plant be­fore the g round free zes. Older, es­tab­lished plants usu­ally han­dle dry spells with­out ad­di­tional wa­ter­ing, she said.

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