Watering restrictions hurting historic Fresno trees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some of the old trees in Fresno's historic neighborhoods are showing signs of stress from the drought.

The towering Cedar trees along Van Ness Boulevard are part of the character of this historic neighborhood. Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea lives in the neighborhood and believes more needs to be done to save them.

Perea said, "Reducing and eliminating watering for trees throughout the median islands are creating visual blight, and that's the last thing we need in Fresno is more blight."

The city of Fresno's Communications Director, Mark Standriff, says the city is aware of the problem and has increased watering of the trees.

Standriff explained, "We are taking care of those trees we are watering three days a week right now and kind of keeping an eye on the issue."

The problem is the governor has ordered cities to stop watering median strips, and that's where the trees are growing. The city gets around the governor's orders trucking in recycled water from the city treatment plant, and dumping it around the trunk.

Arborist Betsy Thornburg says any water helps, but notes, "That's not really a slow, easy, deep soak, if they could let that truck sit there overnight that would probably be a better way to do it."

Thornburg says residents should use the same technique when watering the trees in their yard.

"Use a slow watering system, whether that be drip or just trickling the hose around the tree, moving it around the whole tree and just a slow, easy soak so the water goes deeper," explained Thornburg.

Perea thinks the city ought to figure out a way to do a slower, more efficient way to water the historic trees throughout the city.

Standriff says the city is studying the problem and may bring in an outside consultant to evaluate the trees and see what can be done.

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