As we get closer to the summer months, drought conditions and worries about water restrictions have recently been at the top of the news and everybody's minds. 

During periods of water restrictions, lawn and yard care often are not seen as a priority, and because of this, trees in the area suffer immensely due to a lack of consistent moisture. 

Trees are important and beneficial to all of society. On top of producing oxygen, it is proven that mature trees add significantly to property value. 

In an interview with Barry Munchrath, owner of Positive Pruning and Maintenance, he discussed how to keep trees healthy amid drought conditions. 

“The most important thing is ensuring your trees get enough water periodically. And that does create a challenge for some as water prices in municipalities continue to go up," Munchrath said. “The price of water is impacting what people are doing, and my fear is that if these drought conditions continue for years and years, we are going to start losing a percentage of our trees, and that's going to be very important to evaluate.” 

During periods of drought, watering trees, especially mature ones, often goes ignored. 

According to Munchrath, “people forget that once a tree is big and established, it doesn't need any watering attention, but that's wrong. A mature tree needs a lot more water than a young, new tree.” 

Due to fewer people focusing on watering their trees, Munchrath has said he has seen a shift in his business. 

“I would have to say that unfortunately, tree removal is most of my business right now, especially last summer. I absolutely prefer to prune trees rather than remove them.” 

Amidst all the talk of municipalities preparing for drought conditions this summer, Munchrath believes that his business will be consistent with last year. 

“Even though we are getting a big dump of snow right now, which is good, it is the lack of consistent moisture throughout June, July, and August that really beats up our trees.” 

Watering trees with a hose doesn't have to be the only option. Munchrath emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of rainfall when it comes. 

“I want to stress the importance of harvesting your rainfall from the roof of your house. It is very important and can change the entire health of your trees.” 

Munchrath says on his property he has one rain barrel dedicated to each tree, and last year, even with drought conditions, each of his trees received more than 300 gallons of extra water that he saved from rainfall. 

Because of this, he cut down on watering costs while having lush and thriving trees. 

Even if you do not own a rain barrel, Munchrath suggests directing the downspouts from an eavestrough to the trees. 

“We’re really beyond the days where we can just rely on nature to give the trees everything they need. And any extra water a tree owner can dedicate to their trees will make a dramatic difference.” 

Some places in the province have already started preparing, such as the City of Chestermere, which announced last week it was preparing for potential drought conditions. And back in February, Alberta’s Drought Command Team announced they would begin water-sharing negotiations to mitigate the risk of drought due to below-average snow and record-low rivers this past winter.

If anticipated drought conditions are similar to the previous year, according to Munchrath, conserving rainfall in any way possible could be essential to the survival of trees in the province. 

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