Importance of Trees

Why You Should Save trees2Your Trees

Trees can be significantly impacted has people cut back on water to the rest of their landscapes. 
Tree loss is a very costly problem: not only in expensive tree removal, but also in the loss of all the benefits trees provide. Your trees provide an immense range of health, energy, environmental, and economic benefits:

  • Trees improve air and water quality
  • Trees provide shade to the landscape and reduce water needs
  • Trees help keep your home cooler
  • Trees slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater
  • Trees reduce soil erosion
  • Trees add value – often thousands of dollars’ worth to your home & neighborhood
Trees take a long time to grow. Without helping our trees through the drought, we risk losing these benefits. While a drought may not last long, it can harm or kill trees, and it will take 10, 20 or even 50+ years to grow trees and get back the benefits.

How To Save Your Trees

  1. Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1 - 2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip 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.
  2.  Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2 - 4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
  3. Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees as long as it is free of non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.
    4.  Do not over-prune trees during drought. Too much pruning and drought both stress your trees.

    5.   Mulch, Mulch, MULCH! 4 - 6 inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs 
          and protecting your trees.  

Frequently asked questions: Trees & Drought in California

How often should I water my mature native or drought - tolerant trees

Trees that have matured in non-turf landscapes adapt the easiest, especially drought tolerant species. Native trees, such as our California oaks, need MUCH less water than most non-native trees. California oaks may only need one or two deep waterings over the summer, but no water within 1 to 2 feet from the trunk. They absolutely need the soil to dry out for a month or two before more water, if any, needs to be reapplied.

How can I tell if my tree is not getting enough water?

Look at the tree leaves. Wilting leaves is the first indicator of lack of water to the roots. It can also mean too much water, which is unlikely in this drought.

How is watering trees different than watering my lawn

Your lawn sits on the surface of the ground and has shallow roots. It needs watering a few times a week, usually with a sprinkler. Trees need to be watered less frequently, but with deeper soaking - because their roots grow deep in the earth - the majority of the tree roots are 1 1/2 - 3 feet deep. Lawn irrigation does not water trees effectively. It generally reaches only the first few inches of soil, encouraging weak surface roots to grow.

How does watering trees help the drought

Keeping trees alive helps keep your home cooler, meaning less energy and resources spent on cooling systems and decreased water use in other areas. Deep watering of trees also helps replenish groundwater in some areas.

Why not let my trees die?

Dead or dying trees can be dangerous and pose great risks to your property and your loved ones. Removal of dead or dying trees can cost thousands of dollars. In both cases, letting trees die also eliminates all the great health, home, economic, and environmental benefits that trees bring to your property.
Trees are important as they can help with climate adaptation in the face of extreme weather. Caring for your trees will ensure a healthier, cleaner, more vital community - whatever the weather.