As Texas struggles with a severe drought that has impacted green areas statewide, Missouri City’s Forester Paul Wierzbicki has outlined a strategy to help protect trees and plants from the extreme heat.
The City’s Parks & Recreation Department is watering and closely monitoring about 700 trees that have been planted citywide since last fall. Water bags are being placed at the roots of the trees that are considered high priority, including those under 3-years-old that require soil to be constantly moist in order to survive. Additionally, although pruning and scheduled pest management would normally be performed during this time of year, watering is a priority due to the drought conditions. And, Wierzbicki is monitoring highly susceptible areas for pest problems and tree loss.
“Conserving water at this time is essential for us all,” Wierzbicki said. “To protect trees that are three years old and younger, we recommend mulching around the tree in a wide circle two to three inches tall on the ground and employing water bags that will slowly drip water over the course of 24 hours or buckets with small holes that allow water to slowly drip around the tree.”
He explained that these trees require five gallons of water twice weekly until moisture in the soil is restored. In addition, he said, “older trees need slow, long irrigation. This can best be provided by using several hoses around the tree that cover the entire area under the tree’s branches. The water should run until the point of run off every two to three weeks. With more mature trees, watch for insects such as bag worms in red cedar trees, soapberry boars in soapberry trees and pine beetles in pine trees.”
To further address the issue, City Council discussed the drought at its July 18 meeting. Members listened to two staff presentations on the matter, which included research from climatologists showing 71 percent of the State is experiencing an exceptional drought and the third worst dry period since the late 1800’s and a map illustrating the affect on cities across Texas.
On behalf of City Council, Mayor Allen Owen said until our area gets more rain, “we must all do our part to voluntarily conserve our water use.”
For more information on how to protect green spaces from drying out, residents can call Wierzbicki at 281-403-8500 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.