Keeping trees healthy during a drought

Trees are vital parts of our community here in Santa Clara County. They create the air we breathe, help protect water quality, create shady gathering places for humans and wildlife, and can even add value to our homes by keeping them cooler in the summer and by adding year-round curb appeal. All that trees ask for in return is a bit of water.

During drought periods in California, please remember to water your landscape trees, even though other parts of your yard may go brown or dry during periods of water conservation. Many trees growing in lawns have shallow roots due to typical lawn watering schedules. When irrigation is reduced or stopped altogether, trees can quickly become stressed or die. Most trees benefit from deep, infrequent watering provided by drip irrigation or soaker hoses, or a graywater system.  Apply a few inches of mulch to help retain moisture but be sure to keep it at least 6″ away from the trunk of the tree

Plan to deep water your trees every one to two weeks in the summer months. Watering in the morning or evening is always better to allow the water to percolate into the root zone while temperatures are cooler. Larger trees may require far more water than small younger trees, but all trees prefer a long slow drink of at least 10-20 gallons on average per irrigation cycle. Drought-resistant trees, including many California natives, may need far less water during summer drought periods than other ornamental species. Consult your local arborist or nursery professional if you need advice about the trees in your landscape.

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1 comment

  1. Please send this information to Fire Agencies and get a press release with it out. People don’t understand the need to water trees. As a former Fire Prevention Official I see Cities becoming subject to wildfires due to stressed and dying trees during improper conservation efforts.


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