In their natural state riparian corridors are rich in vegetation and wildlife. A presentation by the the Santa Clara Water District states that “native plants are ecologically best suited to the creek environment.” Plants and wildlife benefit from the sediment and organic material that streams transport and deposits on their banks. In this way, soil is enriched, erosion offset, and aquifers replenished. Native plants and aquatic life are adapted to seasonal variances in river flow, including annual flooding. As F. Thomas Griggs writes, “Cottonwood and willows, as well as all other riparian plant species, are directly dependent on patterns of sediment erosion and deposition.”
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I have a lot of memories tied up in the sensoria of real holiday trees. The smell of pine evokes sap on my fingers. The feel of spruce in my hands puts me back in New England with November snow crunching under my boots as I pick around half-buried stumps, the smell of gasoline and sound of chainsaws. Memories beget more memories. Harry Connick Jr croons out of the stereo while dad untangles strings of lights. Mom corrals us as my siblings and I tear through the boxes of ornaments to find our favorites. My brother’s, a firefighter dog with a Christmas present. Mine was a chimpanzee Santa with a sleigh of bananas.
Heat Wave Watering Alert!
Keep your Trees Alive with Water
Santa Clara County is projected to have temperatures in the high 90's the rest of this week. It's important to keep your newly planted trees watered during this time because they are more susceptible to withering than mature trees.
The best time to water is in the early morning before the heat sets in, but water as soon as possible if the leaves on your tree begin wilting. New trees need about 10-15 gallons of water. Check each day to see if the soil is still moist and if it is, you don't have to water at that time.
Applying mulch, such as wood chips, is an excellent way to protect your trees from heat waves. Mulch insulates the soil and keeps the ground temperature from rising too high. Without this layer of protection, especially during a heat wave, the high soil temperatures can kill the roots.
- Mulching Tips: Lay a thick, 4-6 inch layer around your tree, beginning an inch away from the trunk. Ideally, this should extend to the edge of the canopy for maximum benefit.
Prioritize your plants!
1) Trees less than 3 years old should be the first priority. They are more susceptible to heat stress than mature trees, but they are also a long term investment and you don't want to have to start over from scratch.
2) Any other newly planted landscape. Many people are planting drought-tolerant landscapes to do their part in conserving water. However, newly planted plants whether they are drought-tolerant or not, are still vulnerable to heat waves. Helping them get through this heat wave, will let them help you get through the drought!
3) Established Trees. Mature trees are much less likely to experience heat stress due to their more extensive root systems. However, with the drought extending into it's fourth year, it's not a bad idea to give them a good soaking about once a month.
4) Potted plants. Make sure to move your potted plants to a shady area and water them thoroughly. Potting soil will shrink when dry so double check to make sure the water is penetrating the soil and not just trickling down the side of the container.
5) What not to water: Lawns! Lawns should not be a priority because they can easily grow back and they provide far fewer benefits than trees. They are alsoextremely water intensive.
Save your trees during these hot California days, REMEMBER TO WATER!