by Wolfgang Flüs
We can always enjoy fruit trees. The beautiful flowers in spring, shade in summer and then finally the harvest time comes. Fresh, delicious fruit, which we pick from the trees ourselves, provides us with happiness and vitamins.
But what happens to our fruit trees in the course of climate change? How badly are they affected and what does that mean for us?
What does climate change mean?
By climate change we mean the warming or cooling of the climate. For several years now, we have been particularly affected by global warming. This means that our average temperature rises over the long term and at a very rapid pace. The topic is covered daily in the global media as climate change is a major threat to all of us. Our trees in particular are badly affected and suffer badly.
Here you can find more information on the causes and consequences of climate change. (Link text climate change)
How is climate change affecting our trees?
Due to global warming, climate change brings with it long dry periods. This means that our trees are no longer adequately supplied with water and are exposed to drought stress. Drought stress means that leaves dry out, wither and are thrown from the tree prematurely. This leads to large tree deaths in the long term.
Heat waves and droughts last longer and longer and the amount of precipitation changes. Rain therefore falls less often or in the form of heavy rain. However, these floods can hardly be absorbed and only seep through the dry soil. The groundwater level is also falling, so that it is difficult for the roots to absorb water above it.
What does climate change mean specifically for fruit trees?
Even fruit trees are no longer supplied with sufficient water by nature due to climate change. Extreme weather such as hail or storms increase and can bend, uproot or blow fruit from the trees. The climatic zones are changing more and more, which has a strong impact on the fruit trees.
The fruits are the first constituents that a tree wilts or sheds in order to protect itself. Even in the early phase, drought can prevent the fruit tree from blooming. This means that there can be no fertilization by the bees and the fruit yield does not occur. A few years ago a team of researchers at the University of Würzburg examined exactly how climate change affects bees Studie examined.
In addition, global warming will make it easier for pests to multiply, and plant diseases will spread faster. This ensures that the crop yields change from year to year.
Fruit is ultimately a collection of energy with additional water storage from the trees. For example, if a cherry tree has stored too much water, the cherries will burst, which often happens after heavy rain. Much more often, however, the fruit trees suffer from drought stress. Then the fruits develop their sugar content, which is generated by solar energy. However, this sugar is only stored in the fruit when sufficient water is available. If this is not the case, the fruit may simply not taste good.
If your fruit tree in the garden is exposed to long-lasting heat, you can better provide it with even water for a short time and give it a tree bath. In agriculture, on the other hand, this quick support is a little more difficult, as the orchards are often very large.In the past, additional irrigation was rarely necessary, as this could usually be done over a large area via irrigation. Due to the increasing water shortage caused by climate change, more and more investments are currently being made in irrigation systems using drip irrigation. In this way, a long-term and resource-saving water supply for our fruit trees can be guaranteed.
Why are fruit trees so valuable to us both privately and in agriculture?
Many hobby gardeners plant fruit trees in their gardens in order to provide for themselves and to enjoy a shady spot in summer. This has the advantage that it is possible to determine how the fruit trees are cared for, whether fertilizer is used, etc. In addition, our own fruit trees save us money because we don't have to buy the fruit in the supermarket.
Fruit trees provide farmers with a livelihood. With a lot of strength, time and effort, the plantations are grown, tended and the fruit is ultimately sold. If that is no longer possible, the livelihoods of many farmers will be threatened.
As you can see, the drought caused by climate change is a major problem for our fruit trees. So make sure you use the opportunity to supply your own fruit trees in the garden with sufficient water, because they depend on you.