Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Drought, unwatered lawns are killing trees

drought1AW

The leaves of a tree show signs of stress from the drought. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | August 13, 2014 |

Got a brown lawn? You might have a dying tree, too.

As trepidation about the city’s plans to raise water rates and calls for conservation sink into Davis’ conscience, the city’s urban forestry manager says many people have simply let their lawns die and have forgotten to water their trees.

“I haven’t really seen things like this,” Rob Cain said of his 20-year career in urban forestry. Cain added that he was not yet old enough to work in the last big drought in the late 1980s, much less the late 1970s drought.

Cain is working hard these days identifying and getting ready to take care of at least 65 city street trees and counting that have died for lack of water. That doesn’t figure in many more on private property that are suffering.

Fallen limbs, early leaf loss, yellowing, sun-singed leaves and needles, plus rampant mistletoe are major indicators that trees are starving for water, according to Keith McAleer, executive director of Tree Davis, a local organization that promotes urban forestry.

Tree Davis is teaming up with Cain to get the word out about deep-watering trees at a cost of pennies per month for 10 gallons each week. Eight pennies, if you go by current water rates. Fifteen of them, if proposed water rate increases go into effect.

That’s chump change compared to how much McAleer said trees boost property values according to the U.S. Forest Service: 12 percent.

First things first: Get rid of turf or shrubs around the trunk of your trees, McAleer said. Replace that with mulch.

“Then we recommend taking your hose or a 5-gallon bucket and soaking the tree depending on how much water it needs or how hot it is,” he said.

Tree Davis says the difference between city street trees and private trees — totaling an estimated 15,000 trees across the city — are that city trees are within 10 feet of a road or public utility. Still, those city trees need water, too, and Cain isn’t quite able to go around watering them all.

Young trees take extra-special care in the first couple years or so of their life. McAleer said careful watering and pruning of the trees, as well as stabilizers as a defense from the north wind, will help young trees grow into healthy, well-rooted and more easily manageable trees than those allowed to grow up wild in their first years.

“Tree selection is an issue, too,” he said. “It’s a thing people have gotten better at over time.”

Unfortunately, trees grow slowly, and the city is stuck with some bad choices in the past, like planting coastal rain-loving redwoods in arid Davis. However, they do look great, McAleer said.

“The look of the tree is important for most people, but for us it’s the right tree in the right place,” he said.

Cain said the city has a master list of advisable trees to plant in the city — ones that use less water, may not necessarily be native, but will drop less tree debris than others not on the list.

Cain said he’s seeing more trees added to the death list “every day.”

Needless to say, trees dying in Davis is a cause for environmental concern, McAleer said. Trees provide oxygen, suck up carbon, storm water and — oh so important this time of year — provide shade.

Plus, with his 22-year-old organization started by Lois Wolk, who is now a state senator, trees have proven to be important to local residents for quite a while.

“I think trees make Davis, Davis,” McAleer said.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or call 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8