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Tree Removal Service Des Moines
Tree Service Des Moines
TCIA Tree Care Specialist
Tree Removal Des Moines
Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
Tree Trimming Des Moines

   Olson Tree Care​​​  

Diagnostic and Consulting Tree Care Arborist.

Drought and your Tree

       With Iowa in drought several times over the last few years it brings to light the fluctuating weather patterns and the effects on trees. Iowa's average precipitation of 3-4 inches a month can no longer be expected. The new norm is too much, or too little. 

       What are the implications of drought on an Urban Forest? 

       Urban forestry is mainly focused on the maintenance of trees, (structural compliance) and the Arborist care of trees (invasive pest and organism management). Left out in this equation is tree watering.

       Residential trees are not native in selection or location with varying micro climates. Roots in a natural forest co mingle symbiotically and the trees of a residential forest tend to be spaced, increasing soil stress and sun scorching. 

       Watering Trees is required to maintain health. Many struggle with this saying “for 30 years I have not watered my tree!”. Believing that a tree is “established” or “native” does not make it natural in selection, cultivation or location. Even old native trees that pre existed development no longer enjoy the same grade, soil or micro climate.

       The future.

       1. Plant resilient trees in clusters. Proper Tree Selection.

       2. Water frequently in dry times. (large trees may need 100 gallons a day)

       3. Mulch and amend soil for health.

       If we enact a community effort these subtle changes will assist future generations with drought.


       For more information you can read our Tree Watering Metrics article.

Drought causing decline in trees

Drought and your Tree

Arid soil leading to stress

Watering by snow placement increases amount and duration of precipitation

Winter Transpiration

Watering required

Tree Transpiration in a Dry Winter


       The societal reaction to drought in the Midwest seems to be exclusive only to farmers. While the southwestern US has water basins, rain barrels and drought tolerant plants engrained into their practices, the Midwest is far behind in changing the culture of an often water rich environment.

       Have you watered your trees today? “Its 16F outside, how would I?” you might say.

       - When snow is moved... utilize it. (Slow melt of a pile will add in volume and duration)

       - Roof downspouts to key locations. (Use caution making changes with mature trees)

       - Limit future hardscaping designs and mulch, mulch, mulch.

       - When planting, consider diversity of Native Tree Selection. (Some of our native plants are slow growing and drought tolerant while others fast growing and water hungry. Both are required. Attempt to plant accordingly to grade, runoff etc.)

       A forest has developed over time based on environment. An urban forest has little time to develop and is based on human desire. Will society begin to change the landscape and practices to the benefit of Urban Forests?