Drought is causing distress in trees


OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — A lot of people are noticing some trees are looking more like it’s late fall than late summer. That’s because the trees are in distress.

“The trees start to get rid of some of the leaves at the top because that takes the most energy to have to get the water pressure up to the top of the tree,” said Linda Lillie with Sprigs & Twigs Landscaping.

Tree experts and tree admirers are all seeing the change.

“It’s very disappointing because there are a lot of brown spots now,” said Marie Elci of Waterford.

She’s noticing some trees in her neighborhood have leaves that are more yellow than green.

“They probably will fall off early,” said Elci who doesn’t want to see that happen.

Some leaves have already started turning, but not the brilliant colors of autumn. They’re turning brown and then falling off.

“There are some trees that will completely defoliate themselves just to save itself,” said Lillie.

She says the trees are in distress because of the dry summer and not getting the water they need to survive. Typically, the water is taken up through the roots of the tree and is sent through it and then out the leaves.

“It’s called transpiration,” said Lillie. “It comes right out through the leaves and for one tree maybe the size of this tulip tree can push out about 18 hundred gallons a day.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which will release an updated report on Thursday, the Connecticut shoreline is now in a moderate drought while inland it’s considered abnormally dry.

If this continues some Maples, Tulip, and Birch trees, which usually grow near water, may lose more than their leaves.

“When this happens for several years in a row it could kill the tree,” said Lillie.

The trees need a soft soaking rain, not the torrential downpours we have been getting.

“After some of the rainstorms I go and I dig and it’s maybe that wet,” said Lillie as she holds her fingers just a few inches apart.

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