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Identifying Stressed Out Trees

Iowa Conservation Education Coalition

This summer we’ve seen below average temperatures, above average temperatures, very dry conditions, and flooding. The weather has been stressing a lot of people out and it’s taken a toll on some trees.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Jeff Iles, professor and chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University, and Mark Vistosh, DNR forester, about how to identify when your trees might be struggling.

Vitosh says that most trees probably aren't showing signs of stress just yet: it takes about a year for trees to reflect conditions from the previous season. 

"If it grew [well] this year, it had a good growing season last year," he says.

Next year, however, you're likely to see the impacts of this summer's unpredictable weather.

"Trees remember," Vitosh says. "If they're working hard to replace what they had before, they're stressed."

A more immediate concern is the impact of flooding, which can weaken roots and down otherwise healthy trees.

"Impacts of flooding is species dependent," Illes says. "Conifers and some species of oak are what to be worried about."

Later in the hour, ISU Extension horticulture specialist Richard Jauron joins to answer listener questions. 


Hort DayHorticulture