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Excessive Seed Production on Trees

Most of the Front Range is often below normal for precipitation which stresses trees, shrubs and lawns. Colorado's semi-arid climate tests plants to their limits, and sometimes they suffer.

The winters are often relatively dry in the Front Range. A dry March and April with frequent high winds stresses trees just before leaf emergence and root growth. Why do some trees seed so heavily? It's a combination of factors.

Abnormally large seed crops, sometimes associated with a decline in moisture, are a normal response to certain weather conditions. In some tree species, heavy seed production occurs normally every few years. Flower and seed production are survival mechanisms and commonly indicate a plant in stress.

The best way to help alleviate stress from trees is to maintain normal growth and vigor. In dry weather, it's important to water year round. These tips may help:

  • Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods for watering trees include: deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose, or soft spray wand. Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond if possible. If you use a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil.
  • Apply 10 gallons of water per inch of a tree's diameter (measured at knee height). For example, a 2-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons of water.
  • During fall and winter (October thru March) water one to two times per month.
  • Do not fertilize trees that are stressed, since fertilizer salts may burn roots when there is insufficient soil moisture.

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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013