Saving the Trees
Healthy urban trees provide critical benefits in our Mediterranean climate. They clean the air and sequester carbon, provide shade, reduce energy use in buildings, reduce water use in the surrounding landscape, slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater, and often add thousands of dollars’ worth to your home value. Unfortunately, drought has jeopardized the future of trees throughout California. Up to 20%, or 120 million, trees may die in our wild forests due to the historic 4-year drought. This makes the need for proper management of our urban forests even more critical.
But mandated irrigation cutbacks have hit our urban trees hard too. Hundreds of urban trees in San Diego have died as lawns are removed and high water landscapes are replaced with drought tolerant plants. According to the Friends of Balboa Park, 10-15% of the historic trees in the Park are dead or dying. The good news is that even in the most severe level of drought (CA Drought Response Level 4), tree watering is allowed on residential and commercial properties. And if done property, trees can be kept healthy within drought tolerant zones, even if they require more water than the surrounding landscape.