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The ensuing years produced largely below average rainfall, and without the supplemental irrigation to which it was accustomed, the tree began to show stress from drought conditions.
The picnic tables that once sat under the big oak tree have been relocated to shady spots throughout the Oak Grove. There are also picnic tables and benches interspersed throughout the Wilderness Park. We invite you to come enjoy your lunch in the oak grove or park, or take a seat on one of the benches provided in the Water Wise Demonstration Garden.
Regarding the tree's aesthetic appearance, trimming dead branches in the summer would cause the tree's living branches to be sunburned, so the district will hold off on any trimming until the sun is less intense.
CBWCD is passionate about the care and recovery of this magnificent tree. The district continues to provide the care the tree needs to ensure the highest percentage of survival. We have not thrown in the towel on this tree!
However, it appears this grade change happened with primarily rocks and gravel, which formed a porous cover and allowed moisture to get through to the tree's roots. In addition, a lawn and sprinkler system was created around the perimeter of this tree that allowed water to feed the tree even as it was being compromised and struggling to adjust to its new environment. These actions have allowed this tree to survive where in most cases it would have died within a year after the grade change. Oxygen, water and nutrients were provided, though via a somewhat compromised means. Additionally, with this porous fill, the buried feeder roots were able to grow back to the existing surface grade within some degree.
In the meantime, the fountains provide a much needed resource for our local critters such as birds, butterflies, and bees. The Water Wise Demonstration Garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat, providing such things as water, food sources, shelter, and more for animals and insects. Providing water for birds and pollinators is important, especially when the natural environment is so dry. You can also provide water in your own yard -- set out a shallow dish and make a layer of rocks or other material on the bottom, so that insects don't drown. Refill with water daily. This can help our vital pollinators survive the drought.
Please note: As of July 2015, rebate funds have been exhausted. You may join a wait list to be notified in the fall, should more funds become available.
Every water provider's programs are slightly different, so checking with your water provider is the best place to start. We have outlined a number of the rebates for indoors and outdoors, including turf removal, on this page: Rebates and Incentives Page.
Using artificial turf is a personal preference. If you would like to learn more about mulch and low water use plants, please get in touch with us. We have landscape design consultations and you can see plants for yourself in our Garden.
The Water Wise Demonstration Garden at the WCC highlights native plants and non-natives that will do well in our arid climate. Come take a look to get inspiration for your landscape.