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Monday-Friday 7:00am-3:00pm

 

508-520-0084

Fax:  508-520-9600

office@HarrisonMcPhee.com

MAILING ADDRESS

14 Milliston Road, Suite 202, Millis, MA  02054

 

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PHYSICAL ADDRESS

1420A Main Street,  Millis, MA  02054

 

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Drought is Deadly

Welcome to our resource page on the recent drought issue....yes we meant "recent".  Drought is a serious topic that has lingering effects long after weather conditions seem to change. We encourage you to review this page for detailed information on the continuing effects of the 2016 record setting dry summer, and learn ways that you can help mitigate damage to your valuable landscape.

What happened in 2016?

In a nutshell, our trees are starving to death.

2016 set the record for the driest summer in New England and our trees are suffering the effects.  

Trees protect themselves from drought by slowing down the critical processes of transpiration and photosythesis.  When prolonged, their systems can shut down, leading to death.

The signs are not immediately obvious, and the effects cannot be remedied by a couple of rainy days. It takes consistent and thorough attention to bring the trees back to a healthy state.

The Ramifications

 

A normal, healthy tree can consume 400-1000 gallons of water per day.  When "dehydrated", its resistance lowers, opening the door to a myriad of potential issues including:

Brittle and unstable interior wood

Shallow root systems

Reduced bud generation

Increased threat from disease & insects The 2016 gypsy moth invasion served as another weakening factor for many trees early in the season.  Those that were most heavily attacked are in critical danger of decline. Gypsy moth was expected to reach epic proportions in 2017 - the likes of which had not been seen since 1981.  A wet spring mitigated the damage but our urban forests are not out of danger. 2019 is predicted to see heavy defoliation due to the pest - which will only weaken trees further.

  

What can be Done

 

Regular, thorough soakings to reduce tree stress is the best treatment.

Light watering promotes shallow roots, which are easily damaged by drought, and eventually cannot support the weight of the tree.  

Apply wetting agents which help water absorb into the ground by breaking the surface tension of the soil.

In extremely dry conditions you will often see water pool on the surface of the ground.

Utilize organic soil amendments and compost based products.  These add organic matter to the soil, which provide valuable nutrients and require less water.

Attend to safety by removing large, dead limbs.

Establish a complete plant health care program, which includes treating for harmful insects and diseases.