The Long-Term and Short-Term Effect of Drought on Trees and Shrubs

Droughts happen when there is a significant reduction in rainfall. Rainwater is necessary to keep trees and plants healthy. If the plants do not have access to water appropriately, several changes could happen and cause negative outcomes. When assessing the long- and short-term effects of a drought, tree specialists determine the best action to save the plants.


Short-Term Effects of a Drought

During the short term, trees and shrubs will start showing signs of stress. The leaves may start to brown, and the plants begin to wilt. This is because there isn’t enough moisture in the soil to reach the plants. If the roots do not get enough water, they can start to die, killing the tree or shrub.

These effects won’t remain if the property owner takes it upon themselves to water the plants with their water supply. Local Tree Doctors provide options for managing short-term effects and improving the health of the plants. A short-term solution for the drought is to provide just enough water to keep the plants nourished without increasing the water bill too much.


The Long-Term and Short-Term Effect of Drought on Trees and Shrubs


Long-Term Effects of a Drought

A serious and longer-lasting drought has more serious effects on the plant population. The trees and shrubs will show signs of marginal scorch, and the plants are less likely to survive in these conditions. The climate in which the plants are located has an effect on the survival of the trees or shrubs. As fewer storms happen, the water supply becomes scarce. Overly dry soil won’t give the plants any access to groundwater.

Plants need water to complete photosynthesis. The water must move through the plants to keep the roots, branches, and leaves healthy. A reduction in water could lead to more significant plant loss that decreases the supply of oxygen in the air. A reduction in plant life could create poor air quality and affect the health of humans.

What Symptoms Should You Expect?

When assessing the symptoms of plants caused by a drought, tree specialists are likely to see defoliation caused by plant cells’ turgor loss. Some cell membranes could suffer irreversible shrinkage. The plant will exhibit a sudden increase in abscisic acid.

Without adequate water, plants are susceptible to insect invasions and diseases. Property owners may notice an increase in insects around their trees and shrubs because the plants are dying.

If the trees and plants do not get access to water, the owner will notice the die-back of the branches and see more branches fall from the trees. The duration of the drought defines the long-term effects on plants and whether it is feasible to plant more trees or shrubs in the future.

Once the plants are no longer salvageable, the tree specialist must remove the trees to prevent risks to the property. Some arborists provide access to recycled water to offer a dedicated supply of water during droughts.

Droughts in humid or dry climates could lead to long- and short-term effects for landscaping. The events prevent trees and shrubs from getting to groundwater the plants need to survive. The length of the drought determines if the plants are salvageable and if it is feasible to continue trying to save them. An arborist presents help for property owners who are managing landscaping during a drought in their area.


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