Drought conditions threaten the trees of Winona - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Drought conditions threaten the trees of Winona

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC)- It has been a rough stretch for anyone trying to keep their plant life healthy. The City of Winona is dealing with dying trees, and they are enlisting the help of residents to curb the issue. 

The rain that Southeast Minnesota received comes just in time for a lot of people, especially those in Winona, but experts say the city will need several more days of rain like Friday to get their trees looking healthy again.

"This year more so than any other year in the 12 years that I've been here in town, have seen the downtown trees in particular suffer from the lack of water," says Keith Nelson with Winona Public Works. "I don't know if it's a combination of heat or just a lack of water."

The green is turning quickly to brown and things are not looking bright.

"If you look at the downtown in particular, it's all pavement, it's all buildings, the water really has no way to get in," says Nelson. "It's dependent on the groundwater from below, and if the trees are less than five years old, the root structure probably isn't there to get down to the water."

Winona got a trace of rain on Friday, which is still not enough to help the trees sitting downtown. Public Works is saying people should water the trees in their yard for an hour at least once a week, but even that might not be enough.

"Probably not a significant amount dead already, but more so than I've ever seen, and this year there is quite a number. There's probably half of the trees that show a significant sign of drought going on. Their branches are wrinkling up and drying back."

Watering the trees an hour at least once a week is a temporary solution, but that could be what it takes to get things looking green again.

"This is the worst in my 30-some years of being in the business," explains Nelson. "This is dry."

Some may sing "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day," but Winona needs the rain to come today and stay.

The plan for watering trees may cost Winona residents more money on their water bills, but it is said to be a necessary move to keep their trees alive.

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