Among arborists in Bay Area, it is still heavily discussed whether tree and limb failure can be blamed on the droughts that have been increasingly torturing the state as of late. The problem that has been noticed throughout this discussion, is that there is very little data available to argue either standpoint.However, there has been an undeniable increase in tree failure around these droughts. But no matter your personal or professional beliefs regarding this topic: the trees and branches are falling so what can be done?

Mulch The Ground, Save A Tree

Turf and trees don’t get along as well as you may think. Water can’t reach as deep as it needs to grow strong, deep roots that will help keep the tree from falling over, and the soil compaction often caused by turf will also lead to a lack of oxygen around the roots which can suffocate them and cause die-back in the tree’s crown. Especially in drought, water shortages can be deadly for your tree, so the best thing you can do is to keep it away from turf, add wood-chip mulch and slowly start to deep water your tree.

Cut Back On The Pruning

There are quite a few species of tree that are more prone to failure because of weaker branch attachment, structural defects or poor pruning habits. The best thing you can do for these trees is to limit your pruning to once every 3 years or so since anything more can lead to increased branch failure. When you do prune, you should be smart about it and really only cut what needs to be cut and nothing else.

Don’t Forget To Water

No one knows whether droughts really are responsible for the increase in tree failure, but we do know that it is negatively affecting our trees regardless. A lack of water will put your tree at a higher risk of infestation and disease, as well as make it more susceptible to brown leaves too early in the year. Within just two months, your tree could find its demise if you don’t give it the love and care it needs to stay alive and healthy throughout these harsh conditions. Simply taking the time to deep water your tree’s soil will be enough to support it and help it toughen out the drought.

Whether droughts are killing the trees or not, you should never underestimate how much they can do to damage your plants and trees. A simple look at a tree’s crown and foliage is enough to see if it is struggling and may need some help. And if you’re unsure of how to help, you can always contact a professional and ask for advice.


Anyone who really cares about their trees knows how hard it is to find a good tree trimmer. I’ve used both major name brands, and self employed tree trimmers, and have never been very satisfied, until now. ArborWorks trimmed my trees as carefully as I would have, if I knew how to climb trees!Don McIntyre, owner, responded within two days of my call, and his estimate was fair and thorough. He personally brought the foreman of the crew to my site to go over the job the evening before the crew would actually arrive. Don also visits the site as the work is performed, to make sure everything goes smoothly.If my trees could vocalize, they’d sing about the space created for light to enter the crown, and how good it feels to have the weight off the ends of the limbs. Even neighbors have come by to complement me on how good the trees look. “Best ever”.I only wish I had known about ArborWorks sooner. It took me 32 years to find them. I hope my trees will forgive me for taking so long…
Karen K. Mountain View, CA


Arborworks Inc. Diamond Certified