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Drought And Old Landscaping Ideas Causing Tree Stress

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Because of the drought, some Californians are saving water by shutting off their sprinklers.  Landscapers are urging people to remember to water their trees. 

Cheryl Buckwalter is with the non-profit group Eco Landscape California.  She says many lawns were landscaped years ago in a way that resulted in an unintentional side effect: in their search for water, tree roots stayed close to the surface to draw water meant for the lawn. 

"They're suffering right now because of a tradition of planting trees in lawns, right? And so what happens with trees in lawns is there's one valve probably or a couple of valves but those, basically, the lawn is what's being watered."

She says sprinkler systems should be set up with a tree on a separate watering station from a lawn.  She also recommends watering with recycled water twice a week.

"Catch your water -your warm up water- from the shower for example. I do that. I have two buckets -a-gallon-and-a-half each in my shower. In a few days they're filled up. One of them is filled up.   I go out and I take it out to a tree and I just keep track of which trees I'm watering and so forth."    

The Cal Poly Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute lists Birch and Coastal Redwoods as trees that require a lot of water.

It lists Acacia, Ceanothus, and several pine trees as very drought tolerant.

Buckwalter says Western Redbud, Fruitless Olive, and Desert Willow use little water. Redbud and Desert Willow lose their leaves for fall and winter.

Coastal Redwoods and Birch Trees are having a particularly hard time adjusting to drought conditions because they require relatively large amounts of water. Other trees are showing signs of stress by shedding their leaves earlier than normal.

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