Water Conserving Benefits of Trees

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Water Conserving Benefits of Trees

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Water Conserving Benefits of Trees

  1. 1. Waterwise Gardening Los Alamos Cooperative Extension Service and the Department of Public Utilities Photo: Robert Villegas, CanyonEcho Graphics, Los Alamos, NM 2006 MAY 2007 Water Conserving Benefits of Trees WG05-07-JWH This month’s newsletter is dedicated to on plant materials are crucial to long trees. An essential element to the waterwise term success and prudent use of water This Issue garden, trees offer aesthetic and practical resources in the garden. Some important benefits alike. Visually they anchor the plant characteristics are size, hardiness, Water Conserving landscape design and provide vertical susceptibility to insects and diseases, and Benefits of Trees contrast to smaller plants. For water soil and water requirements. The following Tree Considerations conserving purposes, they reduce heat is offered to assist in making proper choices • Determining Land- and evaporation by shading the soil and when considering the addition of trees to scape Needs blocking the wind. Moreover, they provide the landscape. • Selecting the Site shade to cool homes, reducing energy and • Needs of the Tree evaporative cooler water use. Carlos Valdez, Horticulture Agent • Water Needs Cooperative Extension Service However, before going to the garden center (505) 662-2656 Plant of the Month or nursery, homeowners should do their http://www.l o s a l a m o s e x t e n s i o n .n m s u .e d u Drought Outlook homework. Like turf, trees are major water users in the landscape. Proper consideration Department of Public Utilities, May/June of landscape needs, examining planting (505) 662-8130 Events sites, and obtaining pertinent information http://www.losalamosnm.us David Salman Discusses Tree Considerations Determining Landscape Needs Size - Consider the growth habit of the tree. Rock Gardening Because there are so many different types of Evaluate the size of the tree when mature (Growing in Tuff ) trees from which to choose, you can select and where it is to be used. Tall-growing Salman with Santa Fe varieties specifically suited to your needs. trees, such as the Blue Spruce (Picea Green House will discuss First identify exactly what function you pungens) and Chinkapin Oak (Quercus how to successfully grow want your tree to serve. Trees may be used muehlenbergii) are suitable for two-story plants in tuff or volcanic for shade, ornament, screens, reduction of and larger buildings. However, they tend ash deposits wind and noise, and to shelter wildlife or to dominate the low flat appearance of - Thur., May 17th, provide edible fruit and nuts. The intended - or even hide -- one-story buildings. For 7 PM at Fuller Lodge purpose will influence your selection criteria attractive and proper balance with one-story 2132 Central of planting site, shape, size, type of foliage, buildings, trees that do not grow over 35 Los Alamos, NM and other physical characteristics. feet are better scaled and require less water. (505) 662-2656 Trees can rarely be kept small by pruning, Bernd Leinauer’s Shade - Providing shade usually requires and to do so requires intensive maintenance Efficient Turf tall, sturdy, long-living species. Density of and makes trees more susceptible to insects Workshop foliage and shape determines the amount and disease. For trees that are 35 feet or Attend this one day of shading a tree will provide. Be aware smaller, consider planting the Lacebark hands-on workshop about that some trees produce a very dense shade Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) or Bigtooth strategies to efficiently that will prevent grass from growing since Maple (Acer grandidentatum). Careful irrigate turfgrass with grass requires abundant light. Trees such consideration of mature sizes will reduce the turf specialist as Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) or need for pruning. Bernd Leinauer Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata) provide Fri., June 15th, ample shade, while trees like Thornless Selecting the Site 9AM - 12 PM at the Honeylocust (Gledetsia triacanthos inermis) When planting trees consider not only what Los Alamos Golf Course cast a much lighter shade and is more time of year you will be using the space, but (505) 662-2656 compatible with turf. what time of day as well.
  2. 2. Summer Shade - Determine from sketches and observation great deal of water. Fruits and seeds that are large, messy, smelly, where the tree should be for maximum summer shade. Then or otherwise obnoxious should not be selected for use in lawns or check the shade movement of this spot. near patios and decks. Also consider abundant Use a long stake or board and fix it at the Noon 3 pm N shedding of twigs and small branches, allergenic selected point. Watch the shadows to 9 am or poisonous parts, thorns, weediness, longevity, Los Alamos Cooperative Extension Service and the Department of Public Utilities determine if they coincide with your plans. July etc. Finally, strive for diversity. A diverse urban Shade patterns of a 20-foot tree during summer. forest will lessen the impacts of disease and insect Location to Maximize Water - If epidemics such as the recent pine bark beetle possible, plant new trees in valleys and/or Noon outbreak. 3 pm depressions in the landscape so rainwater 9 am will naturally collect and give the tree a Water Needs good soaking. 0 5 10 15 20 25 September Newly Planted Trees- Irrigate newly planted Feet trees at the base, making sure to wet the entire Avoid Sites Near Utilities -Determine location of overhead and root ball area. Water as needed, perhaps as often as twice a week underground utility lines. Remember, trees are more than just during the first growing season. Young trees (up to two years what you see overhead. Often, the root area becomes larger than after planting) should continue to be watered at the base, but theWaterwise Gardening the branch spread above ground. Please call New Mexico One diameter of the zone of wetted soil should expand outward as the Call at 1-800-321-ALERT (2537) before you begin to dig. The tree grows. Check the soil periodically to see if it is dry; allow the location of these facilities should directly correlate to your choices soil to dry moderately between waterings. of tree type and site selection. Watering Established Trees- Established trees should not be Needs of the Tree watered at the trunk. Instead irrigate from the drip line (the edge Once you have determined placement of the tree, you must of the tree’s leaves) outward. The distance will depend upon the evaluate what you have to offer it. Additional site characteristics size of the tree and the nature of the tree’s root system. As a basic that should be reviewed include the space available, the rule of thumb, apply water in a circular band that’s at least half as environment, soil conditions, and potential pests. Consider both wide as the distance from the trunk to the drip line. the size and the shape of the available space and how that will change as the tree matures. Trees prefer to be watered slowly and deeply. Watering trees deeply, but less often will keep roots from surfacing and make Environmental characteristics include extreme heat or cold, them less susceptible to mechanical damage from lawn mowers drought, exposure to wind and street-side pollution. Soil pH, and weed-whackers. Use a bubbler, multiple drip emitters, or a drainage, and depth are all factors to consider when selecting hand-held hose to deliver water to the tree’s root zone. Moisten trees. Most trees will require a minimum of 18-24” of well the soil about 18 inches deep each time you water, and let the drained soil. Soils with high salinity, low fertility, or toxic surface dry between waterings. Water established trees once pollutants will limit tree selection. Potential pests include insects, every two weeks during the growing season, and once a month diseases, mammals like deer and rabbits. The likelihood of future during the dormant season. wildfires should also be a consideration. Coniferous evergreens Plant of the Month burn hotter and longer. Use the information about your site to select a species or variety that is well suited to the challenges to which it will be subjected. Western Bigtooth Maple Tree (Acer grandidentatum) Consider how much maintenance the plant will require and any Vermonters may boast, but for landscape color as dazzling as possible disadvantages. Fast growing trees such as poplars and a sunset just look in our own backyard - the Bigtooth Maple willows, although providing quick shade, are short-lived, have of the mountain west is imposing in all seasons but its autumn brittle wood that is easily damaged by wind and ice and use a coloration is spectacular. The color variation is genetically determined. In early September the maples begin to change ©Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. U.S. Drought Monitor colors. The color variation from one tree to the next is quite http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_west.htm striking. They’re not really Intensity: D0 Abnormally Dry bushes, but neither would one D1 Drought - Moderate D2 Drought - Severe NV consider them trees according UT D3 Drought - Extreme CO to the standard of the Eastern D4 Drought - Exceptional CA hardwood forests. These natives AZ of the intermountain states grow NM Released April 19, 2007 to heights ranging from 20 to 25 Author: David Miskus, JAWF/CPC/NOAA feet with trunks 9 inches in diameter. The height variation depends on soil conditions and available moisture. So what if a The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may Vermonter would scoff at our maples -- things are different west vary. Visit http://drought.unl.edu/dm for additional text summary for forecast statements. of the Mississippi. OF LOS A TY New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. LA N COU M OS N EW CO NMSU, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Los Alamos County cooperating. MEXI

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