WILLAMETTE VALLEY, Ore. — You may have noticed some of the trees in your backyard unexpectedly dying.

Foresters now confirm that conifers are dying in large numbers in the Willamette Valley, likely the result of several years of drought.

Glenn Ahrens is a Forester with Oregon State University Extension. He's been studying trees for more than three decades.

According to Ahrens, the trees have been suffering since 2014 with drought and heat-related stresses, but this year is the worst he's seen yet.

"I've seen this, but it seems to be getting worse...this is a particularly bad year because we've had a long stretch without rain and it’s been very warm," he said. "Thirty-plus days over 90 degrees, so this is probably the worst year yet."

If you are a property owner, you should be looking out for signs of drought damage on your trees. If you notice your trees dropping more needles than usual or an abnormally high number of pine cones you may want to call a certified arborist to come check them out. That's because soon after your trees start showing these signs, they could begin dying from the top down.

Ahrens said the best way to save those big conifers is to water them.

A soaker hose around the base of the tree is probably the best option. Do this not just once, but a couple times a week.

And of course, if the tree is close to your home, remember a dead tree will become a hazard tree. That's when you should call in the experts.