As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Which One Does Not Belong?

Do you remember the Sesame Street skit “One of these things is not like the others…” I sure do–in fact–I have a pretty vivid memory of SS–I just LOVED that show. I remember coming come from pre-school, and flopping on the couch, munching on carrot sticks or raw green beans (my favorite!) and asking that my mom put the rainbow blanket on me (rainbow side towards me) as I watched my favorite characters dance, sing, laugh, count.

Well, this follows the same concept and I am going to use my stellar skills bestowed upon me by Sesame Street– Which one of these doesn’t belong?

(A) A the calendar

(B) Leaves

(C) Red circle on calendar

If you guessed “B”, you are correct–those are fallen leaves from my beautiful cedar elms that shade my backyard. ON JULY 12!!!!!!!!!! I have NEVER seen so many leaves fall in the summer–it’s like Autumn outside. Reason why? The horrible drought that we are  in. The trees all over Central TX are stressed to the max. They are dying left and right too. Luckily mine are not dead, but they are dropping leaves as a coping mechanism. As I write this, I actually have a hose dripping in my backyard on the roots–I don’t want to lose any of my towering beauties.

Here’s a graphic that shows just how bad off we are:

According to the Lower Colorado River Authority:

The eight months from October 2010 through May 2011 have been the driest eight-month period on record for Texas since 1895. Rainfall in Austin was 38 percent of normal. Temperatures also have hit triple digits earlier than usual this year, with three 100+-degree days in Austin in May. The period from March through May in Austin was the hottest such period on record, punctuated by the hottest April Austin has experienced.

If you want to help your trees see the end of this drought alive, I highly recommend these tips from the Houston Chronicle:



A rule of thumb during a drought is to give a small, 1-year-old tree 28 gallons of water a week, a 2-year-old tree 56 gallons a week, and a 3-year-old 112 gallons a week. But large, mature trees also need help. About 10 gallons per inch of trunk diameter is recommended each week. The key is a long, slow soaking, so water can penetrate deeply into the root zone. Options include:

Turning the hose on at a little more than a trickle, and letting water soak into the ground under the drip line or canopy until that area is saturated. Move the hose to another area and repeat.

Using soaker hoses

Poking holes in the bottom of 5-gallon buckets and placing them beneath trees, then filling the buckets so the water slowly seeps into the soil.

Purchasing slow-release systems: such as Ooze Tube and Treegator, which are beneficial in watering young trees.

Costly options

It may take several hours: to water a large tree. But a slow soak reduces runoff and evaporation. Though water bills may still run high, the cost of removing a large dead tree can exceed hundreds of dollars.

Trees also can be helped: by removing weeds and grass that compete for water beneath tree canopies.

Replacing the grass with 2 to 3 inches of mulch will help conserve soil moisture.

(Experts warn against piling mulch against tree trunks, which encourages disease and pest problems.)

For homes with irrigation systems: run a second cycle so water can percolate deeper into the soil.


Good luck out there!



One response

  1. Susan

    yikes! really puts it into perspective. Those tips about watering trees are great. Its dry here too – can’t run the river where we went in May – but nothing like TX.

    July 14, 2011 at 1:44 am

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