California Drought: Dying trees in Marin County to be cut down Tuesday

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
CA Drought: Dying trees in Marin Co. to be cut down Tuesday
The drought is already impacting trees in Marin County, which are not getting enough water via rain or irrigation.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The drought is already impacting trees in Marin County, which are not getting enough water via rain or irrigation.

Mixed in between the goal posts and picnic tables at Corte Madera's Town Park, are yards of orange fencing and red tape.

"At first I said, why are they doing that and I couldn't figure it out."

RELATED: CA Drought: Regulators warn of dry reservoirs, possible mandatory water restrictions

But Louise Kanne, who lives in the neighborhood, just realized the eye popping plastic is a marker for trees that have got to go.

"This one's really bad," she said pointing to a visibly dead tree. "I would get a saw and saw it myself if I could!"

"We're in a drought right now and the trees are suffering. They're unable to take up water when they need it most, which is when the sun is shining and the weather is hot," said Kent Julin, the founder of Arbor Science.

VIDEO: CA Drought: Marin County's reservoirs dip to just 36% capacity

Reservoirs across the Bay Area, which supply water for millions of residents, are increasingly depleting. Experts explain the implications:

After a tree limb recently fell, the City of Corte Madera hired Julin, an arborist, to assess the park's trees.

He found that three trees are dead and 13 others have decay or defects. Not all the damage is water-related.

"We simply can't put people beneath dangerous trees," he said.

Some trees will be pruned, others will get cut down - starting Tuesday.

"Wow, that's shocking. We all need our trees, we love our trees," said Novato resident, Angelo Rodas, who says he's also noticed changes with the grass.

"We were here last week and it wasn't like this, it was green. But of course the season is changing, the days are getting a little bit hotter and the irrigation stopped."

RELATED: California reservoir levels reach record lows not seen since 1977, state says

"For Corte Madera, the rule is that we only irrigate on Wednesdays," said Public Works director, R.J. Suokko.

Suokko says before water-saving ordinances were enacted this year, they used to irrigate twice as often, at higher volumes. He says they've asked Julin to examine trees throughout the city.

"There could be additional trees that also need to be removed as a result of that future work."

RELATED: Marin eyes pipeline across Richmond Bridge as drought worsens

Some Marin residents are concerned the quickly fading trees are a bad omen for Marin's green spaces as the drought continues.

"We are pretty good at conserving water, but the fact that we have to take down some trees shows that it's gotten pretty bad."

Julin recommends planting drought tolerant trees, like Olive trees. He says to avoid other drought tolerant species, like Junipers, which can be a fire hazard.

He recommends trees get at least one good drink of water a week, which means enough water to penetrate the soil to about 12 inches.