Save Our Water and Our Trees! campaign offers tips to help trees thrive

July 24, 2015 — Friends of the Urban Forest has partnered with California ReLeaf, Save Our Water, and a coalition of urban forest and other concerned organizations to raise awareness on the importance of proper tree care during this historic drought. Save Our Water is California’s official statewide conservation education program.

With potentially millions of urban trees at risk, this campaign focuses on a simple yet urgent message: Save Our Water and Our Trees! The Save Our Water and Our Trees partnership is highlighting tips for both residents and agencies on how to water and care for trees so that they survive the drought and continue to make our cities and towns healthier and more livable for decades to come.

“While Californians are expected to reduce water use during the drought, they are not expected to deprive their trees of water,” said Dan Flanagan, executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest. “On the contrary, we must ensure that the drought does not kill our trees, because they are a vital part of our ‘green infrastructure’ and cannot easily be replaced.”

Street trees and in-property (yard) trees can and must be saved during the drought. What you can do:

  1. Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1 – 2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – NOT at the base of the tree. Use a Hose Faucet Timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
  2. Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2 – 4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
  3. Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees as long as it is free of
    non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.
  4. Do not over-prune trees during drought. Too much pruning and drought both stress your trees.
  5. Mulch, Mulch, MULCH! 4 – 6 inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.

Trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering and when watering is reduced – and especially when it’s stopped completely – trees will die. Tree loss is a very costly problem: not only in expensive tree removal, but in the loss of all the benefits trees provide: cleaning the air, capturing stormwater, providing wildlife habitat, reducing stress, increasing property values, and more.

Save Our Water’s website (saveourwater.com/trees) is available in both English and Spanish and is filled with tips, tools, and inspiration to help every Californian find new and creative ways to conserve. From tips on how to keep trees healthy during the drought to an interactive section allowing users to visually explore how they can save water both inside and outside the home, Save Our Water has a wealth of resources available for Californians.

Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) helps individuals and neighborhood groups to plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco.  Since 1981, FUF has planted more than 49,000 trees to reduce the city’s tree shortage.  By greening the streets of San Francisco, FUF supports the health and livability of the urban environment.  For more information, visit https://fuf.net.

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