Systemic plant health care treatments are highly effective at protecting our trees from various insects or diseases. Systemic refers to a treatment that is taken up by a tree and translocated throughout its entire vascular system. The healthier the tree, the better the treatment will be distributed throughout the tree. In addition to the health of the tree, sufficient water is key for the tree to effectively take up the treatment.
Examples of systemic treatments that we do at Kramer Tree Specialists would be treatments such as trunk injections or soil injections. Specific diseases would be dutch elm disease, bacterial blight, or oak wilt to name a few. Insect examples would be emerald ash borer, magnolia scale, or bronze birch borer. These systemic treatments are dependent upon the ability of the tree to translocate water to distribute the treatment throughout the entire tree. If conditions are dry with limited soil water availability, the tree will be very slow, if it all, at taking up the treatment resulting in inconsistent and often ineffective results.
So, how do we get around this hurdle during periods of drought? Because many of these systemic treatments have a very short window for the timing of the treatment, such as dutch elm disease, there are ways we can help with this during periods of drought so that the treatment can still be carried out. Providing deep watering once per week leading up to the treatment is highly effective to prepare the tree to take up the treatment effectively. Check out a recent blog of ours on how to water your trees, it provides great insight on how to do this. On average, a tree requires about one inch of rainfall per week. During droughts, this can be achieved by placing a shallow container in the path of a sprinkler under the tree canopy until it has filled with 1 inch of water. An alternative method is to use a soaker hose. Place the soaker hose in a spiral pattern outward from the tree trunk toward the dripline and run for approximately 30-60 minutes.
If you don’t have a soaker hose, simply running your regular garden hose on a medium trickle within the dripline of the tree for about 15-20 minutes will make a big difference. The goal is to moisten the soil around the tree to a depth of about 16”. Always be certain to avoid spraying foliage or onto the trunk directly. This will help reduce the risk of developing an ideal habit for fungi to grow.
For best results for product uptake, continue this watering pattern every 7 to 10 days after your tree trunk injection treatment or until our region receives more frequent rainfall. Supplemental watering should be considered any time during the tree’s lifetime when at least ½ to 1 inch of rainfall has not been received for more than 10-14 consecutive days.
Our constantly changing climate patterns make challenges for all walks of life. It is our goal to help your trees thrive so they can help combat these challenges and improve the health of our urban forest.