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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Trees feel the heat
dry brown leaves, showing signs of stress
Shallow rooted trees like beech and birch are under extreme stress
If July's record temperatures left you feeling stressed out and wilting in the heat, spare a thought for Britain's trees.

Although it's stilll high summer, it's beginning to look as though Autumn has come early in many parts of the South East, as trees shed leaves and branches.

The early leaf fall is a sign that the trees are under severe stress - and it's happening all over the country, as the heat and lack of rainfall begin to take their toll.

This morning on Breakfast:

Beech tree photo sent in by Breakfast viewers Barbara and Charlie Hurst from Rainford, St Helens
This photo was sent in by viewers Barbara and Charlie Hurst

  • Sarah Campbell reported live from Kew Gardens' country outpost, at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex.

  • We asked for your photos of trees suffering from the heat. We're afraid it's too to use any more on this morning's programme, which has now finished.

    But, as ever, if you do have any pictures, send them direct to the BBC's central inbox:
    E-mail: yourpics@bbc.co.uk


    Drought-stricken trees: how you can help

    The Royal Botanic Gardens has special equipment which can aerate the soil around vulnerable trees.

    Trees under stress
    Sarah Campbell talks to a tree expert at Kew Gardens
    Breakfast's Sarah Campbell reports from the Royal Botanic Gardens

    But there are less complicated things you can do for your own garden.

    They suggest:

  • Prioritise: concentrate on the trees which are showing signs of stress, such as brown leaves and falliing branches.

    Shallow-rooted trees such as birch, beech maple and horse chestnut are particularly vulnerable.

  • Mulch: spread a layer bark chippings or loose stones between 4 and 6 inches deep on the soil around your plants. This will act as a blanket to stop the moisture evaporating from the earth. You can use spent compost too - but make sure it's weed free.

  • Aerate the soil: drought conditions leave the ground compacted. Dig over the soil around your trees with a fork, lifting and turning the earth. The idea is to get pockets of air back into the soil, to create space to store water when it does rain.

  • You can also use this form to e-mail your stories about the heatwave direct to the Breakfast inbox:



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    SEE ALSO
    Heat wave: keeping your cool
    03 Jul 06 |  Breakfast
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