Don’t start crafting a eulogy for ailing trees just yet. Kansas State University extension agent Rickey Roberts said they will probably survive even if the drought persists.
That has not stopped people from worrying. Trees are beginning to shed their leaves way ahead of schedule. Wind row and domestic trees alike have been affected by the hot and dry weather.
“I think that’s a natural response tree has to stress,” Roberts said.
Roberts did suggest soaking trees that had already been ailing because of insects or old age.
“If it’s possible, baby the tree a long,” he said. “It could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Roberts has high hopes for most coniferous trees but lower expectations for pine trees. Pines are ailing because of blight — particularly pine wilt — delivered by insects.
“We can’t hardly keep one alive,” he said. “Kansas is the only state in the union that is not native to a specific species of pine. Maybe we’re not supposed to be growing the pine trees we’re growing.”