Recurrent droughts have become as common in the Bay Area as sunshine. Weather experts expect this trend to continue, making it essential to consider the effect of drought on plant healthcare. Water restrictions are the new normal, leaving plants, trees, and shrubs at the mercy of the rare rain shower or carefully scheduled irrigation regimen. Fleshy plants visibly express drought stress at the driest times, showing a drooping stature and wilted, scorched leaves, while woody plants and bushes silently suffer or drop foliage. Here’s what you need to know to protect your landscape investment.
In Plant Healthcare, Water is Life
Plants are primarily made of water. The water in plants is where all the chemical reactions within plant cells take place. Water is essential to photosynthesis and all metabolic and physical processes. It is integral to obtaining plant nutrients from the soil to roots and transporting them throughout the plant. Without it, growth isn’t possible. Without water, there is no plant life.
Soil Water Deficits Do More Than Make Plants Thirsty
Without deep root water and fertilization, dry soil causes a cascade of effects that impede normal growth. Moisture is pulled in reverse (reverse osmosis) rather than from soil to roots, causing a net loss of water that may result in cell death within the plant. Drought can be especially deadly in newly transplanted trees and greenery, which have already lost water-absorbing roots during the digging and transplanting process.
With prolonged drought, soil water is depleted from roots and root hairs, which take up the bulk of precipitation, killing them and severely reducing water absorption. In addition, stomata, pore-like structures that exchange carbon dioxide and water between plants and the surrounding air, close. This inhibits respiration, photosynthesis, and carbohydrate (food) production, limiting growth and leading to smaller leaf size and leaf drop. Diminished health from insufficient water and nutrients makes plants more susceptible to insect invasion and disease – lasting for up to two years following drought events.
Why Occasional Heavy Rains Aren’t Enough
During a longstanding or recurring drought, it’s more than the amount of rainfall that matters. The pattern and frequency of rain have a more significant impact on drought management and plant well-being than seasonal precipitation totals. Frequent, soft, soaking rains support healthy plants better than a superstorm event dropping a year’s worth of rain over a couple of days.
Ensure Plant Health with Help from Gachina’s Landscape Management Experts
Don’t let your plants and trees suffer from prolonged drought. Our landscape management team knows how to minimize the effects of drought damage. We can offer a range of solutions to meet your plant healthcare needs, from soil support and deep root water and fertilization to waterwise irrigation systems, and drought resistant landscape conversions.
Don’t let the effect of drought on plant healthcare be deadly. Contact Gachina Landscape Management at 650-853-0400 and start transforming your San Jose, Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, or Mountain View property to a more drought-tolerant landscape design today.