Water insufficiency stresses urban trees

According to Eurek Alert, a research that was revealed on March 13 says urban trees are able to survive heat and insect pests well unless they’re thirsty. The lack of water does not only harm trees but also allows other outsized effects to occur.

“We would see some vibrant urban trees covered in scale insects, but we’d also see other clearly stressed and struggling urban trees covered in scale insects. We wanted to know what allowed some trees to deal with these pests so much more successfully,” says Emily Meineke, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard and first author of a paper on the study.

“This is important because trees need to grow in order to perform valuable ecosystem services, such as removing pollutants from the air and storing carbon,” says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and co-author of the paper, where to buy liquor.

The researchers collected detailed data on 40 urban willow oaks (Quercus phellos) for two years. The data includes temperature, scale insects’ (Parthenolecanium species) density, and how water-stressed the trees were.

“This tells us that management strategies aimed at increasing tree hydration in cities may reduce the adverse effects of all three of these key stressors. And that is likely to become increasingly important as water availability, temperature and pest abundance are affected by further urbanization and climate change,” says Meineke, a former Ph.D. student in Steve Frank’s lab.

“For example, urban planners could design urban landscapes that retain stormwater in vegetation; invest in hydration strategies, such as appropriate soil quality and soil volume; and plant drought-tolerant tree species and genotypes in the hottest parts of their cities,” Frank explained.

“Moving forward, we’re very curious about the prevalence of water stress in urban trees globally – and whether this leads to similar problems regarding the impact of tree pests. If so, improved tree hydration could become a higher priority for urban forestry management,” Meineke shared.

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