Summer heat can be hard on everyone, but did you know it can KILL trees? The next time you cool off under a leafy boulevard tree, remember that street trees need your help to survive soaring temperatures. In Missoula’s dry climate, trees need regular, deep watering during hot weather, according to Marie Boggess, Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry Program Specialist.
Boggess says well-maintained street trees not only provide shade to make homes and businesses more comfortable, but they also increase property values and filter air and water pollutants. While boulevard trees provide these benefits and many more all year long, the cost of watering this valuable resource is just pennies a day. If a residential lawn yellows a bit during these hot summer weeks, it will spring back to life when the weather cools. Trees, on the other hand, will be permanently damaged by lack of water during hot weather. It is vital that urban trees receive supplemental water when temperatures rise.
Boggess offers these tree care tips:
Mulching will increase the moisture-holding capacity of your soil. An organic wood mulch, layered about 2 to 4 inches thick and spread as wide as the tree's drip line will hold the moisture longer, inhibit weed growth and help moderate soil temperatures. Pull the mulch away from the trunk of the trees at least 4 to 6 inches to deter fungal diseases.
Remember, Missoula Municipal Code 12.32.070 requires property owners to maintain the trees on the boulevard; Parks and Recreation will assist residents as much as resources allow. Call the Urban Forestry Division at 406-552-6253 or visit www.missoulaparks.org for more information, tree care tips and ordinances related to trees in the City right-of-way.