Are you seeing any effects from the drought?

californianJuly 3, 2007

Just curious what effects other southern Californians are seeing from this years record drought in their neighborhoods. As I look out my window I can see a clump of Eucalyptus trees about 40 feet high on my neighbor's property are slowly dying, with about a third of the leaves turning red or brown, Another older clump of Eucs on another neighbor's property is still green, probably because it is much bigger and older and has a more extensive root system. The Chinese elms are holding up pretty good too. I see a young mulberry tree turning yellow too, but an older one is in better shape. The weeds in my yard even died in places where I don't water, which is one of the few blessings from the drought, together with less mosquitos and insects this year.

I am afraid that by next winter many trees and plants that aren't lucky enough to have someone watering them will be dead or severely weakened by this drought. If you want to keep a large tree alive you may have to use 400 to 600 gallons of water a week per tree during the really hot, dry weeks. I see people spraying maybe ten gallons at the base of the tree as if that will do any good.

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Since I bought this house in August last year and put in all new plants it is difficult to say. The few trees that I have and did remain seem to be ok except for the lemon. Twice now it has had blossoms but they just turn black and fall off. The plum tree I just finished harvesting and are so sweet. The apple is progressing along good. The 3 palms got froze but appear to be coming back.
The scrub brush on the slope isn't doing that good.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 11:24AM
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I have a small native garden area out back that I started shortly after we moved in -- Fall 2005. There are two plants - a Cleveland sage and a woolly blue curls- that I planted this February, expecting rain. So far, the Cleveland sage which was in a 4 inch pot has grown to about 12-18 inches -- I expected more. The woolly blue curls did bloom, but it's about the same size - here, too, I expected greater height. I wonder if they haven't been stunted. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 1:07PM
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buddyben(z9 CA/Sunset 20)

Did you water your cleveland sage and woolly blue curls regularly after you planted them?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 2:16PM
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DROUGHT? GLOBAL WARMING? Some of my fruit trees have died and the leaves on my lemons are yellowing etc. etc. Does anyone have any experience or strategies for riding out either long-term or short-term drought in the garden and out.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 4:41PM
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I got suckered by the El Nino predictions and didn't water deeply in Feb/Mar, which is one of the best way to help plants make it through a dry summer and fall. I expect to see some effects tomorrow, as people set accidental fires all over on July 4.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Trichostema lanatum requires substantially more water while becoming established than you might expect given its native habitat.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 11:27PM
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My cleveland sage were small the first 2 years - started from a 4" pot. After 2 years they are both 12' wide, and in non-stop bloom. =^,,^=

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 10:45AM
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Thanks all. Yes, Ben, I did water them, but looking at what socal said, perhaps I should have watered even more. Slave2thefur, I plan on waiting another year to see what happens. I might be better off with something taller in that location, though, maybe something that blooms earlier. The black sage planted the year before has really taken off (The Sage that Ate Redondo Beach, LOL!) so maybe my expectations were too high on that basis. A manzanita is doing well, but that may have benefitted from my neighbor's downspouts.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 3:51PM
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My cleveland sage was just about 2 sticks in a gallon size from Theodore Payne and was about 8 inches tall in April. It is now about 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide and flowered numerous times. They told me for the first year to water all my new natives regularly to help establish them.
My calliandra is about 6 inches high and wide and has flowered 4 times.
They were out of Trichostema lanatum this spring but I hope to get one in the fall or next year.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 10:48PM
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My well-established grapefruit and naval orange are not doing well. Yesterday, I left the water hose running at a slow drip between the two tree hoping the water will soak in deeply. My chicken coop is in the area where these trees are, so they rarely get watered. Now I am seeing the result -- leaves starting to shrivel up! My other fruit trees are doing well.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 10:11AM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

I'm in the San Francisco area and we are not in the drought that has plagued So. Cal., but our rainfall was lacking this year and drought is predicted.

If my native plants are correct, they too think that drought is on it's way. I have tons more seedpods on plants this year than in previous years of normal rainfall.
My Dudleyas were huge in the past years with 3-4 flower stalks. This year, they only grew to medium size but had 8-10 flower stalks. The redbud has so many seedpods you can hardly see the foliage.
My theory is that the production of so many seedpods is to ensure the survival of the species when rain returns

Many plants also bloomed earlier and have started to go into summer dormancy earlier.

The plants think drought is coming and that's good enough for me.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 12:07PM
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stickgarden(z10 CA/ Sunset 21)

looks like it's a lousy year to be starting a bunch of new projects in my new yard- does anybody know the water predictions for the coming winter? Although- I heard last winter was going to be very rainy, and look where we are now.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 2:53PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The effect here is mostly on my electricity bill. I am paying to pump my well water at 300% of the normal base electric rate. This has nothing to do with the cost of generating the power and its only purpose is to punish me for keeping my landscape green. Paying monthly electric bills of $300 caused by my pumping prevents me from running my air conditioner also at 300% rate and keeping our home comfortable. This is the result of our politically correct "we know what is best for you" attitude of our elected representatives. Al

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 9:46AM
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CA Kate

californian: first year plants frequently are small... they're making roots. I'd worry if they didn't pop next year.... but do keep them all watered.

wanda: I know what you mean by mucho seeding, same is happening here.

Al: our well pump is on it's own circuit and was $35.00 last month --- compared to $4 last January. I don't even want to think about the 4 figured electric bill for AC that will be likely next month for all this heat.

I have some hose some where going all day every day just trying to keep areas deep watered once a week. I try to get two areas each day for a half day each. I'm not sure I want to see next month's well bill either.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 8:01PM
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There's one way to tell if a corporation is state regulated. If the seller encourages you to use more of their product, it's privately held; if the seller encourages you to conserve their product, it's state owned (regardless of what they call it in Sacramento).


    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 12:33AM
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