Over the past year and a half that I have been Barton County’s agriculture and natural resources agent, the majority of questions that have come into the office for me are about trees. We have seen the effects in our trees from the crippling drought we have been in since 2011. Much of the damage with trees occurs where you cannot see it right away. With dry soils, the roots systems in many trees have been compromised. Small feeder roots constitute the major portion of the system. Under normal conditions, these roots grow upward from the large roots encountering water, minerals and air along the way. When the ground is lacking water, these feeder roots die back, and cannot penetrate the dry soil, causing the tree to be stressed from the lack of minerals and water.
Trees are an important portion of our landscape. They regulate the temperature in our houses, block the winds to protect the land, and are just ascetically pleasing. Since the drought began, we have lost many of our trees in Barton County. From your big wind rows that were planted in the 1930’s, to large trees in homeowners yards, our trees have taken a hit from the lack of water and high temperatures over the past several years!
Trees respond to a little extra care when our Kansas weather gets extreme. In actuality, a young tree that is still establishing itself into its environment can withstand our feasts and famines much easier than the big towering trees that have lived 70 years. Evergreens still require care during the winter months when everything else is dormant, especially when it is dry. By giving your trees extra water at the right times, and following a few simple steps, you will help both your trees health, and its ability to withstand the highs and lows of the seasons.
On Wednesday, November 5th, I will be giving a program about trees, their health, and what you can do for them during the different seasons to keep them healthy and growing for many years. This will be at the Great Bend Rec Center located at 2715 18th Street in Great Bend. It will start shortly after noon, so feel free to bring your lunch. I hope to see you all there!
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 620-793-1910