Drought dangers around your home could cause damage

Published: Sep. 12, 2013 at 10:50 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Drought conditions continue to worsen across the Ark-La-Tex, and the dry conditions can cause dangerous scenarios around your home.

Shreveport has gone 27 days without measurable rainfall, as of September 12, and is 8.12 inches below average on rainfall for the year. Texarkana is 12.98 inches behind on rainfall, and Longview is 11.12 inches below average.

Drought conditions can cause the soil under your home and foundation to sink, and once your foundation reaches the breaking point cracks can appear in the slab and the walls. At that point, it is likely too late to fix without professional help.

Not all hope is lost, if you catch it early enough. A soaking hose fixed around your foundation can help prevent cracks by watering your foundation. However, Shannon Kemp with Olshan Foundation Repair warns that over-watering can do more harm then good. "You don't want to flood it. If you'll put soaker hoses about a foot, two foot away from your house, and turn it on about every other day for about an hour to an hour and a half, real slow soaking. What that does is re-hydrate the soil around the area and keep the house from dropping anymore."

From the ground, we move to something that hangs above your house. Your trees are becoming increasingly vulnerable in these hot and dry conditions. Half of a tree's weight comes from the amount of water it holds but in these dry conditions, a tree can become very light and weak, and can even die.

A few signs to look for to know if your trees are becoming unstable are: if you notice that all of the leaves have fallen off and no new leaves are coming in it likely means that the tree is dead. Dying trees will also shed their bark.

If you feel like your trees are barely hanging on and you want to save them, according to Gary Miller with Miller Tree Services, you should not use sprinklers but rather water you trees by hand. " The homeowner can help a tree by slow saturation with water, and get penetration down to about 12 to 18 inches deep for the tree to take in the moisture. Surface watering for your grass or your plants, a tree won't get that."

Miller also says that besides the lack of water, in these dry conditions trees also become more vulnerable to disease and insect infestations. He warns that certain fungus is contagious and could spread to the rest of your trees if not properly treated.

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