In a recent op-ed pice, William Kopper, Michael Bartolic and Mark Siegler make the following statement:
“Our community will go brown and our street canopy will die.”
There is no truth to this statement. As water rates rise, some homeowners and tenants may choose to reduce their lawn watering or plant lower-water turf species. Others will replace their lawns with less water-thirsty plants. Low-water landscapes can be very attractive, and examples can be seen all over Davis already. It seems to me we should be encouraging water conservation by Davis residents.
The UC Davis Arboretum has many good examples of low-water plants that give flowers, fruit, attractive foliage and more at different seasons of bloom. I have written numerous articles on the topic, all originally published in The Enterprise, which are gathered at my business website (redwoodbarn.com).
Shrubs, ground covers and flowers can be selected with low “landscape coefficients” to reduce water use by a significant amount. Even fruit trees, which generally prefer deep, infrequent watering, can fit nicely in a low-water landscape.
The comment about the “street canopy” is especially untrue. Most people water their street trees more often than necessary. We see more problems from over-watering than under-watering of established street trees. There are very few, if any, tree species used as street trees that require high amounts of irrigation water.
I don’t think any of the authors of this particular op-ed piece have plant or landscape expertise. I have owned a nursery in Davis for 32 years. Vote as you like on the water project, but don’t fear for the health of our trees or the appearance of our community.