Dear members: We're sorry the online Sharing Secrets Forum has been on hiatus. We will be keeping this forum updated from now on.
Our Sharing Secrets question for a hot, dry September is:
How are you keeping your trees alive during this extended drought?
With everyone cutting back on water, we need to be aware that many of our mature landscape trees can suffer when supplemental water is withheld. How are you dealing with balancing water conservation against the health of your trees?
You can answer this question online, or you can email your response to email@example.com and they may be published in the SCHS newsletter.
My tree trimmer bought a chipper/shredder. Today, the clippings from the pine will be used to keep the soil near tree roots cool and retentive.
The street trees in my town - when the state outlawed watering the median turf- funding to retrofit irrigation systems to recycled water has not yet been released. The first flash of heat- our existing city trees were succumbing to stress. Letting City Hall know of the situation, the water trucks started going out immediately.
Water trucks are not efficient and the trees are definitely experiencing hardship- but we will come with more trees at the end than we would have otherwise.
Of concern is that schools in remodeling are not being allowed enough water to replace landscape. A local school has real trees in there new entry statement- planted in artificial turf with artificial bushes lining edges and filling pots. Looks lovely. For now- but I don't know how the trees survive long-term. An A for effort- but heartbreaking at how far a public institution felt it had to go.
I live in Burbank and we are permitted to water trees by drip irrigation any day, no limit of days, as long as it is between 6pm and 6am. The City's active policy is to keep the trees healthy through the drought.
So, I drip water onto my trees with a hose. Also, in one area I have dripline installed which cuts down on the labor.
Additionally, I run all my washer water into the garden and that's a big boost to the trees in the affected area. I also hand carry my kitchen sink water out to my Chinese magnolia in the front yard, maybe 2+ gallons a day? Every day, though, so I think that is a help.
The other front yard tree is an old established crepe myrtle (maybe 60+ years?) - a drought tolerant tree to begin with, the crepe myrtle seems to be doing fine during the drought. It is on the city-permitted schedule of 15 minutes of water 2 times a week. It has a secret water source though: some years ago we put in a dry well near its root zone. The dry well is connected to a roof down spout, so every rain tops off the dry well which then perks into the soil. The handful of rains we've had this summer have been a boon to the crepe myrtle.
So that's me. But I've noticed many Burbank parkway trees are really suffering, evidenced by significant die-back of upper branches. Their situation is especially dire where the adjacent homeowner has let everything die or replaced all their plants with gravel and a couple of cacti. Pity the poor trees, huh?