Spend now on water to save KC area's trees
The Kansas City Star
Rain is on the way to our area, a remnant of Hurricane Isaac.
At least that’s what local weather forecasters are predicting.
And when have they ever been wrong?
But by itself, even a mini-deluge won’t save the thousands of thirsty trees and large shurbs in the Kansas City region.
It will take a lot more, according to the foresters and gardeners who have watched as hot temperatures have combined with lack of rain to create a prolonged drought throughout the Midwest.
Yes, most sensible suggestions to save trees and other plants involve spending a little money on more watering. But that expense could be well worth it.
It’s not cheap to replace even a single young tree. And it’s next to impossible to replace the shade and beauty from a mature tree. Finally, consider it can cost $1,000 or more to professionally chop down an extremely large, dead tree.
Local governments that aren’t completely cash-strapped should be taking care of trees in parks and on other public property.
But in many places, including Kansas City, residents may have to pick up the slack. It pays to water trees in the public right-of-way. Most cities aren’t watering older trees in those spaces, and younger ones likely are getting attention only if they are under warranty and a contractor wants to keep them alive and not have to replace them. Trying to organize neighborhood groups to keep trees in medians alive also makes good sense.
Among recommendations from experts:
Let water trickle out of a hose for several hours on the roots of a tree or large shrub. And that probably means moving the hose around, because a tree’s mostly shallow roots often extend under the entire canopy.
Create mulch rings around trees with a layer up to four inches deep to help keep moisture in. And make sure it extends far enough to cover the roots of younger trees.
Use specially designed bags that can be filled with water and wrapped around younger trees to give a slow release of moisture.
Don’t despair if leaves are turning brown or falling off early. As long as small limbs on trees or shrubs are bendable, there’s probably some life left. Keep watering them.
Don’t rush to plant new trees this fall. Planting next spring could be a better idea.
Unless, that is, the heavens open up and it pours into the fall, creating a healthier environment for trees and shrubs. Fine, pinch us. We must be dreaming.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you have any innovative ideas on how to save KC’s trees, please share with us. Send to email@example.com. Thanks.