Warm, dry fall days stress out trees, shrubs.
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.