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.


We hired Arborworks to remove 10 trees at our new house. There was a small overgrown forest going on. I don’t think anyone ever trimmed anything in this yard! Not only did they remove the trees and ground the stumps, they also took out our other items we had cut down ourselves.The biggest tree was almost three stories, you could see it towering over the house from the front and we have a two story house. Could not believe how efficiently they cut down that monster tree. Their guy who was in the tree – WOW he made it look easy but I know that it wasn’t! Knew what limbs to cut and where the limbs were going to fall. Was very impressed! We were there when they took all the trees out and I can tell you they definitely know what they are doing. They asked if we wanted the chips/mulch from the stump grinder otherwise they would have taken it away.I would hire them again in a heart beat and I’ve already recommended them! Great prices and GREAT service.
George R. Palo Alto, CAPalo Alto, CA


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