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Drought Stressed Trees

July 10, 2013

Weekly ag column by Mike Boersma County Extension Educator with the U of M Extension Service in Murray and Pipestone Counties
A number of homeowners have been noticing problems with their favorite landscape trees this summer and this is especially true for spruce and other evergreens. While the reported symptoms range from bare branch tips to curled needles to trees that are almost entirely brown, these symptoms likely all point to the same cause: drought stress. Drought stress can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are slow to appear; often taking a year or two before they are even noticed. The symptoms of drought stress are also usually subtle, not specific, and not diagnostic. Symptoms are quite variable and can include drooping, wilting, curling, yellowing, premature leaf or needle drop, bark splitting, and tip and branch dieback.

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