By Shelley Palmer
I’ve been thinking about trees and water or lack of it. Folks have been so concientious about conserving water that they’ve just stopped watering and I think that’s probably the right thing to do with the turf grasses but we should all be keeping the trees alive if we can. I’m seeing a lot of dying or dead trees and that is just way sad if just a watering every two weeks might keep it alive. Hand watering is OK anytime and that’s what I’ve been doing with my trees (at night, of course). If you see that a neighbor has trees that are croaking, you might say something to them also. It’s a lot to lose – a 20 year old tree – or even a year old tree. This is just my two bits as the tree situation is making me very depressed….. The City of Austin arborist site is where I got the “water every two weeks” bit and they’re on the same bent as I as far as doing the minimum to just keep them alive til the drought breaks…
By Richard Fadal, Owner, TexaScapes
Enhanced Service Plan for Extended Drought Periods
Extended drought periods are highly stressful to trees, landscapes and turf while placing high demands on water and irrigation systems. This situation requires a partial shift in focus and services that potentially minimize the drought effects while preserving the landscape investment and conserving water to a reasonable extent. Our crews are performing the following special services on our clients’ properties (including Wells Branch).
- Routinely hand watering high profile and new trees, landscapes, and color/perennial plantings when and where accessible.
- Utilize two 500 gallon Water Wagon Trailers to hand water priority or Heritage size trees where hose bibs are not available or reasonably accessible.
- Routinely cultivate mulch and compact soil within beds and tree rings to breakup the heat generated and water repelling crusting; in addition mulch depth should be maintained between one and two inches to allow reasonable water penetration and soil moisture retention.
- Use antitranspirants such as Cloud Cover, on plant foliage of tolerant varieties to retain minimum internal moisture when and where appropriate.
- Till Soil Moist or Terrasorb granules into soil within annual color and perennial planting beds to assist in prolonging soil moisture.
- Raise mowing heights one inch above normal mowing heights when the grass variety tolerates such mowing heights and where feasible. Limit mowing to areas that are actively growing or for drought tolerant weed control.
- Focus on trimming and removing drought tolerant weedy plants such as Johnson grass, ragweed, KR Bluestem, Dallisgrass, croton and poison ivy.
- Remove dead plant material from landscape areas and note the locations.
- Increase monitoring and repairs of irrigation systems while establishing conservation zones to better utilize the limited available water. Set irrigation systems according to conservation directives by clients.
- Treat hot-spots and stressed landscape plants with a solution of seaweed extract, natural soil activator, and/or Superthrive to help relieve heat stress.
In addition to these measures, the MUD also rented a 2000-gallon water truck to water the trees towards the end of the summer.