Dying Trees

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The drought is killing thousands of trees in Colorado forests, and urban trees aren't faring much better.

In fact, Colorado Springs foresters say, this year's dieback and premature yellowing is the worst they've ever seen. One main problem is that a lot of the trees planted here are native to the Eastern United States. They're used to 50 inches of rain a year, not 5.

The heat and lack of rain have taken a toll on our trees, especially spruce and elms. And under stress, they give off an odor that attracts insects. Springs forester Darrel Pearson says you'd have to go back to 1939 to find a summer that was this hard on our trees.

Even the hardiest of plants, the scrub oaks, are turning brown and dropping leaves. But leaves aren't the main concern, since the growth period is over for the year. Now, we need to make sure the root systems stay alive. Pearson says you should water a foot deep every month until the ground freezes. If you have sandy soil, it's especially important to keep an eye on your trees since water drains right through that loose soil. And do some research. Find out what kind of trees you have and what they need to grow.

Now even with the water restrictions, you can still hand-water your trees and shrubs anytime. The best way is to just use a bucket or put a spray nozzle on your hose.

The following websites have some helpful information:

Drought Management

Colorado State University Drought Information