Trees are suffering, and some can't take any more of this drought.
Today, during a relatively short drive, I saw two trees with broken limbs. There was no wind to stress the limb and no external damage. The limbs had become brittle from becoming too dry. I’ve watched two trees die this month near my store, and I believe that hyper-dryness was the root cause. If we want to keep our trees, we need to water them.
During wind events, which at this time of year tend to be dry winds, moisture is sucked out of trees in an evaporative process, at the same time branches are twisted and pulled. Under these drought conditions, wind events are when I worry most about our trees.
Come to think of it, there is an incredibly tall and untrimmed tree in the yard behind my house, and I am worried that it may come down entirely or split and lose a huge branch and come down right onto my house. I do wish the owners would trim that tree. I watch the unchecked limbs twist and rub on power lines and communications cables between utility poles.
Like many people, I’m refraining from watering my lawn, even though I cringe at seeing the brown, dry remnants of what was once thick, luxuriant grass. During a drought, we should do our part to reduce water usage, and so I watch my lawn die.
Lake Cachuma is drastically low, and I suspect our water tables are similarly reduced. I also believe it will start raining again, but meanwhile, our trees need some help.
My plan is to water right around the base of my trees, to try to limit the water to the trees themselves, rather than watering the grass and other plants nearby. If I keep watering every couple of days for just 10 minutes, I believe I can put enough water into those trees that I can back off to every several days or perhaps just once per week, after just a couple of weeks.
Bushes and grass I can easily replace and grow, but trees represent a much longer investment. I recall a time many years ago when one of our local defense department research think tanks was being designed. The developers asked research scientists what could be done to help make them productive and foster creativity. The most common answer was to grow large trees right outside the windows, so the scientists could stare at the trees and think.
We love our trees.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.