Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Continuing Drought and Trees

downtown branchesWe received the following message from the City's Parks and Recreation Department:
      "Last week a co-worker and I down south at Parks and Recreation were talking about the condition of his outdoor plants and water when he stated 'Well, I guess the drought is over and our trees are going to be okay.' My answers was 'that depends,' we ended by talking about the recent weather and I thought we should all think about the need for winter watering.
      "The trees all over town were placed under severe stress from the lack of adequate moisture during the past 3-4 years, in particular winter snow pack, more specifically the lack of winter snows.
      "These trees all around town and in the surrounding areas continue to suffer to some extent from previous dry years.
      "Recent research tells us that plant roots of some species continue to develop during the winter months, in particular if they are below the frozen soil line. Right now in town, it varies from no frozen ground to about six inches.
      "We did not receive any appreciable moisture in the fall and are not receiving enough recent snows to keep most trees hydrated.
      "Continuing of cold and dry winds are causing the moisture under tree bark and in the leaves of the evergreens (like Pinon and Juniper) to lose moisture on a daily basis. The moisture needs to be replenished or many trees will lose buds and stems as they desiccate beyond their ability to re-hydrate.
      "On a warm afternoon hook up the garden hose and water the trees. You should probably do this every 2-3 weeks unless we begin to receive heavy snow packs. It does look like we are in for a dry winter.
      "Remember, the native trees and shrubs in our yards and landscapes evolved in a climate where most of the moisture that is available to recharge the soil moisture level comes in the form of snow.
      "It would also be a great idea to place a layer of clean straw, like Timothy grass hay or any other mulch, around the base of the trees or shrubs out as far away from the base towards the ends of the limbs ( the drip line ) as possible. This will help to conserve and minimize the loss of valuable soil moisture around the root zone.
      "So continue to save and utilize that valuable recycled water from your house hold use, or give your plants a Christmas present of water from the hydrant (do not forget to disconnect the hose when you are finished). No, the drought is not over.
      "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
      "Fabian Chavez III @ Parks and Rec."
downtown branches

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