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Drought Hurting Mature Trees

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KIRKWOOD, MO. (KTVI) - The drought we’re in, is being felt in the roots of trees and we're not talking just new saplings or young trees.  Even mature trees, decades old are in danger.

FOX2's Kurt LaBelle tells you what you need to know, to save your landscaping.

Kirkwood and Webster Groves are proud of their many historic trees.  But this drought has many concerned about their well being, specifically an 80 year old Sycamore tree known to those in Kirkwood.

Tree experts are now turning their attention to mature trees in this severe drought, and seeing very bad signs.

"It looks like fall right now in a lot of people's yards because trees are losing their leaves."

"Right now, the softwood trees are defoliating and showing signs of severe stress."

One example is this 80-year old Sycamore tree outside Manor Grove in Kirkwood that was losing leaves at a rate that alarmed the residents.

"It’s a part of Kirkwood history. It's been here since 1930."

Feliz Nau of all tree care was able to act quickly and save this tree, which was 50-percent dead.

"We immediately gave it a deep root feed and sprayed it with systemic mitocides and herbocides. That gets rid of all the mites and the fungus."

Much like this Sycamore tree, Felix insists most older trees can be restored during this drought if the proper steps are taken.
Saving an older tree begins with attention to the tree's base.

"Right now, when it's this severe, get rid of the mulch. Mulch isn't doing any good because the tree roots need oxygen and they need water, and they're not getting any when you cover up the root ball with mulch."

"If there's vines around them, get the vines away from them. Any water that the tree might be getting the vines are stealing from them."

Watering older trees is still important in order to ensure their survival of a severe drought, and avoiding the worst case scenario with older trees.

"We’re in the business of saving trees rather than just cutting them down. We do that as a last resort. People like their trees, and they know that trees cool the earth."

"It’s important to the customer because a mature tree, most people have a lot of time invested in it. And I hate to see a big tree go."