City encourages homeowners to plant trees

Posted at: 05/22/2013 7:00 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority is going all out to encourage homeowners to plant more trees   in a time of drought when thousands have simply given up, turned their lawns in to xeriscapes, and quit watering.

We’re supposed to conserve water, right? But that doesn’t mean you have to let your trees die of thirst.

At local nurseries, like Jericho Nursery at I-25 and Osuna, tree care professionals like owner Jennifer Hobson will steer you to drought-resistant trees. We’re talking Honey Locust, Bradford Pear, Pistach and many more. They’ll teach you to keep them thriving because trees are so good for us.

“They’re shading your house and cooling it and cutting down on your use of swamp coolers and air conditioners and that kind of thing,” Hobson said. “They’re also shading the ground and creating a situation underneath that tree where you don’t need to water plants quite as much.”

That’s why the city of Albuquerque aggressively plants more and more trees on every major road project,  more than 6,300 trees in the past eight years, planted in median strips and along sidewalks.

Then there’s the ‘tree-bate’. That’s a rebate for expenses after you plant a tree.

“We’re going to give you money back on your water bill for putting in an irrigation system for your trees,” said city water conservation officer Katherine Yuhas. “It’s also for fertilizing your trees, or for getting professional tree care.”

So your trees don’t have to die in a rock-covered yard. Want to keep them alive? Want to plant new ones? Get to a nursery, and don’t be shy about it. Tree planting in arid New Mexico has always been a challenge, and we need all the help we can get!