Did you enjoy that blustery storm that blew through the Conejo Valley Sunday night and Monday? It carried a few downpours with it and really left the air clean and fresh. Unfortunately, total rainfall wasn’t much and certainly didn’t end the drought. So we still need to care for our trees with that drought in mind.
Here are some tips for exactly that:
• Be sure to water the soil under your trees, not the leaves. Adjust your sprinklers downward if necessary.
• Water under the dripline (the edge of the branches), not near the trunk (unless the tree was planted in the last couple of years).
• Water slowly. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are good.
• Lay down a layer of mulch. Three to four inches of wood chips spread on bare ground helps reduce water evaporation, insulates the roots from heat and keeps the weeds away.
• Avoid over-fertilizing your trees. It forces trees to use energy to process the fertilizer.
• Avoid pruning branches. When you remove live tissue, it forces the tree to use energy to defend against the cuts.
• Avoid digging under the tree’s canopy. That can kill small roots that absorb water.
Keeping your trees healthy during the drought is possible even during Southern California’s notorious years of light rainfall — especially if you follow these tips.