SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Bay Area residents are turning brown into the new chic by cutting off the lawn sprinklers, but in the process, they may be endangering something much harder to replace than turf: trees.
Bay Area Arborist Cooperative Managing Director Christopher Campbell told KCBS he is “absolutely starting to see stress and damage from the drought” among trees in Bay Area yards.
Campbell says a major problem is the fact that trees are often surrounded by lawns. When the lawns got watered, the trees got all they needed. Now, they’re going thirsty.
A thirsty tree is a stressed tree. Campbell says drought-stressed trees can be affected for as long as 20 years. They become more susceptible to pests and disease.
Campbell recommends immediate first aid in two forms: water and mulch.
“Young trees need 5 gallons of water twice a week,” he says.
Mature trees need the equivalent of 1 to 1.5 inches of rain every week; it can be delivered from a hose or by using “shower warm-up water,” captured in a bucket.
As for mulch, Campbell recommends 2″-3″ beneath each tree. He warns that gardeners should be careful to keep from mounding the mulch against the tree trunk.
Here’s a handy set of tips you can use to protect the trees in your neighborhood.