Drought, people killing off trees within the city

Posted at: 04/30/2013 6:06 PM
Updated at: 04/30/2013 6:30 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4


A long time ago a comic strip possum named Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” That’s how it is with the tens of thousands of trees dying around the city of Albuquerque in a third, straight spring of severe drought.

The trees are mostly found in people's yards, and the people have nobody to blame for it, but themselves.

The evidence is in every neighborhood - people are killing their own trees by denying them water.

People want to reduce water use so they moonscape, not xeriscape, their yard; buring the yard beneath a layer of rocks baking in the sun, with nobody turning on the water. People then they wonder why their trees are dead or dying.

“Ultimately those types of larger shade trees that had grass all the way around, that were getting plenty of water and growing nice and big and healthy – they go through this horrible death because they don’t get adequate water,’ said Jennifer Hobson of Jericho Nursery, on Osuna at Interstate 25.

It costs hundreds of dollars to remove a dead shade tree, and if i's left standing, a stiff wind could blow it onto a house or vehicle. The loss to the environment is staggering, too.

"Trees are great,” said gardener Susan Meints. “We need trees for the environment, processing all of that carbon monoxide. We need more trees in this city.”

A study by the national Council of Mayors shows Albuquerque lost 7 percent of its tree canopy from 1990 to 2008 – and that was before the drought started roasting the Southwest even drier than it usually is.

“Shade trees are a huge plus for anybody,” said Hobson. “I don’t care what side of town you live in. Shade trees help you save energy for the cooling and heating of your house.”

Worried? Gulity conscience?  Maybe it’s not too late. Walk out onto those hideous rocks and look for some signs of life from your trees. And take the hose with you.