The Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water program is warning California residents not to neglect trees during this period of historic drought.
While cutting back on water use is critical, trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering. When watering is reduced, and especially when it’s stopped completely, trees can die.
Tree loss can be costly in more ways than one. While tree removal is often expensive, also at risk is an immense range of health, energy, environmental, and economic benefits trees provide:
- Improve air and water quality.
- Provide shade to a landscape and reduce water needs.
- Help keep your home cooler.
- Slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater.
- Reduce soil erosion.
- Add value—sometimes thousands of dollars’ worth—to your home and neighborhood.
Because trees take a long time to grow, helping them out through the drought is critical. Harming or killing trees may eliminate benefits that would take decades to get back.
The Save Our Water program has these recommendations for preserving trees while conserving water:
- Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1–2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drop system toward the edge of the tree canopy—NOT at the base of the tree. Use a hose faucet timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
- Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2–4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
- Use a bucket in the shower to capture water while it warms up and use that water for your trees.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch! Four to six inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.
For more information on saving trees while conserving water, including helpful videos, visit www.saveourwater.com/trees.