From Scorched to Soaked: a Thanksgiving Weather Update

Kalie Larkin Expert Advice Leave a Comment

(What to Expect Next)

Thanksgiving is here and we’re all thinking about football and turkey. Or if you’re like my Mom, you’re thinking about leaves and parades. No matter which group you’re in, the crazy part is snow is around the corner. As we come to the end of this wonderful fall season I wanted to talk about some of the effects we saw due to the weather extremes we experienced this year. Namely leaf scorch and fall needle drop.

This summer was quite the scorcher with 50 days in the 80’s and 39 days in the 90’s. That heat coupled with below average rainfall (1/3 of an inch to be exact) and our high winds meant we had wide spread leaf scorch. Leaf scorch is not in and of itself deadly to landscape plants but it often alarms homeowners and business owners alike. Rightly so, because it is a warning sign. It is the result of a plants inability to pull in enough water to maintain proper hydration levels. When a leaf doesn’t get all the water it needs it starts to yellow and then turn brown starting at the points farthest from the veins. If conditions persist leaves will even turn completely brown and start to fall. 

The other effect we have been seeing is high volumes of needle drop in our evergreens. This effect is generally more confusing to people than the leaf scorch because it is delayed. Even though temperatures have cooled off and we have gotten significantly more rain (only 11 days over 80 with 4.55 inches of rainfall) the plants sent the signal for how many needles to drop back when it was hot and dry. Those signals said “we are under stress, we need to get rid of more than usual”.  Aka, even if your evergreen is losing a larger number of needles on the interior it does not mean that it is in trouble.

A healthy plant with a well-developed root system will be able to bounce back the following season. However, if stressful conditions persist you will see any number of trees/ plants with hidden weaknesses start to fail and some will even fail completely. Some of those hidden weaknesses include: newly planted trees with undeveloped root systems, girdling roots, root rot, excess trunk damage, extensive insect damage and many more.

If you’re not sure what is happening with your plants or have any questions or concerns about your plants please feel free to call our office at 208-523-5296!

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