We all know what a wet summer it has been with all the storms here in the Miami Valley. Our rainfall is way above average and could break some old records going back to the 1950’s. As of the last week of July many of us have received over 10” of rain for the month and our average normal annual rainfall for the entire year is just over 41” and we have already had 42” year-to-date. Yikes! It’s no wonder there are problems occurring with some of the plants in our landscapes. Plant roots that sit in wet soils for days and this year, sometimes weeks, will be harmed and some of this damage, particularly in older trees, will not be noticeable for years to come. You should avoid walking or riding your lawn mower on soils when they are very wet as severe compaction occurs which impedes drainage resulting in virtually no oxygen in the soil. The lack of oxygen in the soil can cause severe root decline. We can see this in corn and bean fields this summer where drainage is poor.

When roots do not develop properly we eventually will see the tops of plants, including trees and shrubs, die or become more susceptible to insect and disease damage. In some cases entire large trees are uprooted by high winds when the ground is soft. Then they fall in places where we don’t particularly want them…..like on cars, houses and roadways.

Another problem that occurs when we get storms is damage to trees that do not have a very good or strong branching structure. One of the ornamental trees that falls into this category is the ornamental pear group. Pear varieties such as ‘Cleveland’, ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Bradford’ are varieties that can have these problems. All of these ornamental pears tend to have poor “crotch” development and can be damaged by high winds if they are not pruned to open up the centers to reduce wind resistance. In some cases it is a good idea to add support cabling or actually bolting acute angled crotches together. Some other trees that can have problems are soft wooded trees like Silver Maple and Weeping Willows. There is no fertilizer or other cultural remedies that can correct this basic flaw in a tree variety. Be sure to deal with reputable nurseries that will offer you some of the newer and improved varieties or offer you advice that will preserve your trees, one of your long term investments.

If you will send us a photo of trees that you may have in your landscape that you think could experience damage from a future storm we will be happy to give you our thoughts about how to reduce potential damage before it occurs.

Go to our website for more information, www.meadowview.com.

Meadow View Growers, Inc.