5 Tips for Getting Your Trees through the Drought

Trees Survive California Drought
From water shortages to brush fires, the evidence is clear that the drought afflicting California is serious business. Everywhere you look, you’ll find warnings to avoid wasting water and incentives for conservation and responsible use.

One of the best things that you can do for the earth – and your yard – during a drought is to carefully nurture your trees. According to Tree People, one of trees’ many benefits is that they help combat climate change, clean the air, and help cool the cities and yards that they give shade to. They can also help the ground retain water and refresh the water table after rains.

So how can you responsibly care for the trees in your yard, and give them a shot at getting through the drought?

1. Make sure mature trees get deep, slow watering. They’ll only need it once or twice a month, but deeply and slowly water these older trees with a simple soaker hose or drip system, toward the edge of the tree canopy.

2. Give younger trees more water. Less mature trees will need more water – try five gallons, two to four times per week. Create a small watering basic with a berm of dirt, and fill it.

3. Hop in the shower with a bucket. Buy a five-gallon bucket for every full bathroom in your house, and make it a rule: every time you hop in the shower, position the bucket to capture as much runoff as possible. Just make sure that soaps and shampoos are biodegradable!

4. Take it easy when pruning. Do not over-prune trees during drought – too much will stress your trees.

5. Three words: mulch, mulch, MULCH. The importance of mulch can’t be overstated. Just four to six inches of the stuff helps retain moisture, reducing water need and protecting your trees.

Follow these simple rules and your Trees will Survive the California Drought! If you need help, contact us!

Preparing your Trees for El Nino

Preparing Trees for El Nino

Forecasters everywhere have been predicting that 2015 will serve Californians an El Niño to remember. In fact, The Weather Channel recently forecasted that it could last well into the spring of 2016!

Everyone will need to prepare for the influx of rains in different ways – if you’ve got a creek, get those sandbags ready – and those with trees on their property also need to take special precautions. So grab a notebook and a pen, and take note of which of these checklist items are appropriate for the trees in your yard. Do everything you can do to prepare your trees for what could be the very, very rainy season ahead:

1. Clear Everything Near the Roof. If there are any branches overhanging your roof or touching it – get rid of them.

2. Prune the Big Ones. Big rains often come with big winds. Have large trees – like those giant pine trees in the front yard – structurally pruned to allow the wind to pass through them safely.

3. Clean them up. If you see any dead branches – or those that are on their way, remove them before they fall. Solidify young trees. Those saplings you picked up at the water conservation event this spring? They haven’t been in the ground long, so make sure they – or any younger trees – are well-staked to withstand the winds.

4. Make Sure They’re All Healthy. Inspect your trees’ health. Are there dead branches at the top? Decaying or soft roots at the base? Those could be signs that the trees’ health is in decline.

If you’re not sure how to assess any aspect of your trees’ health – or would rather entrust it to the experts, be sure and contact a certified arborist today. It’s always better to be glad you did, rather than wish you had!

Why Your HOA Board Should Be Talking About Mulch

Mulching Trees in Your HOA

Why Your HOA Board Should Be Talking About Mulching Around Trees

Trees: they’re associated with hugging, nature, life itself – and with good reason. The environmental, societal, and economic impact of these shade-giving, oxygen-producing plants is enormous. And tree mulch? It turns out that small, 2-4 inch pile of matter surrounding the base of the trees on your landscape can be one of your trees’ closest allies, and one of your best defenses against threats to their health – and your irrigation bill.


Why are Trees so Important to our Homeowners Associations?

The beauty and serenity of being surrounded by trees can be awfully romantic, but their benefits are far-reaching and quite tangible.
In addition to the fact that trees produce life-giving oxygen and increase air quality, they provide incredible benefits like temperature-reducing (and energy bill-reducing) shade, barriers against runoff from storm water, and great economic impact. Trees store rainwater throughout their root systems, branches, and leaves, thus replenishing moisture in the ground. They often only need watering three to four times a month (particularly when native and drought-resistant varieties).

And according to the International Society of Arboriculture, “property values of landscaped homes are 5 to 20 percent higher than those of non-landscaped homes.” Trees are a big part of that, and the larger they grow and better they are maintained, the more value they can add to your landscape.


What Exactly Does Mulch do to Protect These Resources?

With an investment this valuable to the well-being of your community – and your HOA’s bottom line – it may be surprising that protecting it can be so simple. Putting mulch around trees, material that can range from wood chips and compost to pulverized rubber, is one of the more beneficial things you can do to keep your trees healthy, as well as reduce watering needs of the tree. It insulates and aerates the soil, slows evaporation, keeps many diseases at bay, and protects from rodents, insects, and “oops!” moments with a weedwhacker.

Getting smart about mulching around trees means protecting one of your HOA board’s most valuable, long-term investments.
There are options to consider, like whether organic or inorganic materials work best for you, and you should understand that poor technique can actually harm your trees, encouraging rot and harm from rodents and insects. It’s worth talking with a professional!