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Droughts & Trees – Bay Area Considerations

Your landscape trees provide personality and curb appeal to your home. You plant them, nourish them and provide them with TLC. As trees grow, they become landmarks for visitors, a place to hide during a game of hide and seek and a great spot to sit and read your favorite book.

Trees also provide a wide range of environmental and health benefits including:

  • Improved air quality
  • Shade to your yard and to help keep your home cooler
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Slow stormwater runoff
  • Increase property values

Mature trees seemingly don’t need as much care as young trees, but it’s important to stay on top of big tree maintenance, particularly in times of seasonal drought or dry weather. While the drought conditions in California have improved some, many trees are struggling to recover, and some are still in a state of decline.

While it’s common to limit or cease watering your home lawns during a drought to comply with local regulations, the health of the residential tree canopy should not follow the same rules.

The region’s trees are more and more stressed from a lack of deep watering. While decline varies depending on the tree, soil and the general area, Ned Patchett Consulting shares the following warning signs:

  • Premature yellowing or browning
  • Early leaf drop
  • Lack of vigorous growth
  • Fading of the green or, limited production of green chlorophyll that provides leaves with their vibrancy
  • Dieback of branches

Understanding Your Tree’s Root System

 A little background on how a tree functions is important to know how much to water your trees. Often, the majority of tree roots are in the top 18 inches of soil, but the section of the roots taking in water (along with nutrients and oxygen) are in the top six to eight inches of the roots.

Because of this, long, slow deep watering with soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems is recommended during the hot growing season which is from spring to the end of summer. The need for supplemental irrigation can even extend into fall and early winter depending on rainfall and weather conditions. Young trees should be watered two to three times weekly during establishment.  Mature trees should be watered weekly to bimonthly depending on species if you want them to perform optimally and avoid water stress conditions that can lead to decline. Be sure not to over-water mature trees as too much water clogs the roots preventing the roots from taking in oxygen. The result is a suffocated tree are can create conditions that can lead to root fungus.

Native Trees

Your tree’s survivability also depends on selecting the right tree for the right location.

Native trees such as:

  • Oaks, including Valley, Coast Live Oak, Blue Oak, Black Oak
  • Manzanita
  • Redbuds including California or Western
  • Native Lilac
  • California Sycamore
  • California Buckeye

Tolerate drought much better than thirstier non-native such as:

  • Evergreen Magnolias
  • Jacarandas
  • Sycamores

Remember that our majestic and beautiful native coastal Redwood tree requires a good amount of supplemental irrigation during the growing season and is not the optimal tree to plant if you are inland cannot provide it with adequate amounts of water.  These trees grow naturally in the California coastal mountain range which is generally covered in fog during the hot summer months.

Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require less water and save valuable time and money.

As an important component of your landscape, tree care should not be taken lightly. Our professional arborists at Ned Patchett Consulting are trained to care for trees of all shapes and sizes, and during all stages of life.

Are you looking for an innovative tree service and landscape design and maintenance company that will uniquely and passionately create and care for your trees and yard like they were their own?

Let the experienced professionals at Ned Patchett Consulting deliver for you. Connect with us at info@nedpatchettconsulting.com or 650-728-8308

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