Calgary trees could be less stressed than last year despite a hotter summer

The weather for trees in Calgary in 2018 is not as bad as last year, because despite a hotter summer than usual the season has been less dry overall.

This year's weather is actually an improvement over 2017 for trees in Calgary so far

Calgary trees might not fare as poorly in 2018 compared to 2017, despite temperatures being hotter this summer. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

While temperatures in Calgary have been oppressively hot in recent days, trees in the city could be having an easier time than last year because the summer months have been less dry.

Arborist Matt Davis said because trees received more regular moisture over the past few months, they'll feel less stress despite a warmer summer.

"Last summer the issue was the sustained lack of moisture and the higher temperatures," said Davis.

Arborist Matthew Davis says the summer of 2018 could end up being better for trees than last year despite it being hotter. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"This year we'll probably have more moisture generally in the soil … we've received more moisture on a regular basis and so as that kind of builds up and moves down in the soil."

According to Davis, this time last year it was clear that trees were in danger due to prolonged drought-like conditions.

"This year, if [the hot weather] doesn't last a lot longer… it's not good for the trees necessarily but hopefully less overall impact," said Davis.

Hot weather still problematic for trees

The improvement over 2017 does not mean a problem-free summer for trees, according to the City of Calgary.

"You are already seeing that some of the trees in the city, especially some of the older poplars that aren't receiving any extra water have already started to turn yellow," said Jeannette Wheeler, urban forestry lead with the City of Calgary.

According to Wheeler, rain in the Calgary area over the summer months has not been "penetrating" enough to go deep into the soil.

Wheeler suggested homeowners who might normally water their grass instead turn their attention — and their water — to trees.

"Maybe you're trying to keep the grass looking green. Let it go brown, it'll green up right away in a hurry once it starts receiving water again. But apply some of that water to the trees," said Wheeler.

Water trees in the evening

Both Wheeler and Davis suggest watering trees the evening before a hot day to allow for maximum absorption by the trees, rather than watering during the heat of the day.

"They're going to kind of take up as much [water] as they can to kind of prepare for the following day," said Davis.

According to Davis, it's too early to know if this summer's hotter temperatures will cause longer-term problems for trees.


Anis Heydari


Anis Robert Heydari has worked in jobs ranging from cleaning up oil spills to fixing phone lines, but somehow ended up a jack-of-all-trades at the CBC. He hasn't won any awards, other than a 1996 award for violin at a small town Alberta music festival. He's now working at CBC Radio's "The Cost of Living" covering business and economics. Reach him at