LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Ahead of the mandatory two-day outdoor watering restrictions set to take effect across Los Angeles on June 1, the Department of Public Works gave tips to Angelenos Tuesday to protect their trees, noting that they provide extensive benefits to health and quality of life.
“Trees provide so many benefits for the quality of life and our environment,” Board of Public Works President Aura Garcia said. “But as we go through this period to reduce water usage through various ways, we want to share this important information for residents to help maintain and preserve trees in their yards, while conserving water.”
Under the conservation measures announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti on May 10, outdoor watering will be restricted to two days per week, down from the current three, with watering permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.
Watering with sprinklers will be limited to eight minutes per station. Sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles will be limited to 15 minutes per station. All watering will have to be done in the evening or early morning, with no watering permitted outdoors between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Water restrictions do not apply to tree watering, as officials say the region needs its trees to stave off drought impacts. Trees can capture stormwater, improve water quality and reduce flood risk, along with helping air quality and the impacts of heat waves.
The Department of Public Works urged people to add mulch to their trees and to slow soak their mature trees once a month, especially between June and September. People should also keep a close eye on the trees that were accustomed to receiving water three times per week.
People should also avoid pruning and fertilizing their trees during hot, dry months, the department said.
“There are some basic and simple steps we can take to ensure our trees stay healthy while we conserve water,” City Forest Officer Rachel Malarich said. “We’ve invested in planting and caring for these trees, and a little water and care go a long way to ensuring we get to continue to experience the benefits they provide for years to come.”
Garcetti met with Secretary Wade Crowfoot of the California Natural Resources Agency on Friday to highlight the need to protect the region’s trees amid the historic drought.
“Even here in Los Angeles, one of the true conservation capitals of the world, we need to continue to take advantage of the tools at our disposal that will help us get through drought,” Garcetti said. “We need to conserve now more than ever, and watering our trees is a critical part of our work to become a more sustainable and drought resilient state.”
The two-day watering restrictions will be enforced by the Conservation Response Unit, which will focus on areas that are using the most water, according to DWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Marty Adams. The department will re-assign employees to ensure coverage in all areas of the city, and might bring on additional personnel during the summer, Adams said.
Garcetti also said enforcement will begin with education for people who are violating the ordinance, but will escalate with fines and tickets if needed.