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August 20: Special Tree Talk in Gamble Garden


Dr. Matt Ritter, an esteemed botany professor and published author, recently called Palo Alto's urban forest "the best the in the Bay Area for its diversity and maturity." 

Canopy is delighted to host Dr. Ritter at Gamble Garden, in the heart of Palo Alto, for a talk about the lives and stories of local trees featured in his new tree identification book, A Californian's Guide to the Trees Among Us.


FREE Tree Talk and Guided Tour with Dr. Ritter        

Date: Saturday, August 20  

Time: 9AM - Noon+
Location: 1431
Waverley Street, Palo Alto

Morning refreshments provided. This event is FREE, but space is limited. 

Click here to learn more OR to reserve your spot today!  


Sample leaf selection of Ginkgo biloba in Matt's artful, yet scientific book:  

Conserving Water AND Saving Trees
Smart Tree Watering Guidelines


Trees are the most valuable component of our green infrastructure because of the benefits they provide and the investment they represent. As summer temperatures increase after a wet, cool early summer, trees will need to be irrigated to assure they thrive.  


We are asking citizens to conserve water, but not at the expense of their trees. A large percentage of our city's trees need summer water, and we can't afford to lose the shade, beauty and environmental benefits they provide.

Water conservation and tree preservation are not incompatible goals. Canopy offers advice on how to achieve both: 

  1. Visit the Canopy Tree Library to determine how much water your tree needs or to select a drought tolerant species for your planting.
  2. Read our step-by-step instructions on how you can preserve trees and conserve water.
  3. Consult our watering guidelines for practical tree watering recommendations
  4. Read three case studies for concrete examples of water conservation situations and their solutions.

Noticing signs of water related stress 

It is important to identify and relieve water related stress promptly, especially during dry months.  Leaves of a tree will show identifiable symptoms like browning of leaf edges, poor or stunted new growth in the spring, die-back of leaves, twigs and branches, or "Sunburn." Surburn presents with brown patches in the middle of the leaf, which can occur during hot spells when the tree cannot uptake water as quickly.  Learn how to take a "moisture sample."   


Frequency of watering

You should infrequently yet deeply water your trees in the most efficient manner possible.  Keep in mind that if the weather is hotter or cooler or if your watering area is shaded or particularly hot, your frequency of watering will change.  Click to expand the table.    


Newly Planted Trees 

In Palo Alto, it is the responsibility of residents to care for young street trees until they are "established." If you have a young street tree, you have probably received a postcard from Canopy about your responsibility to water your tree. Young trees require special attention because they are vulnerable.  You need to saturate the soil with water to a depth of 12 inches below the soil surface, and widely enough to include the entire root ball.  Use ten to fifteen gallons per young tree or per inch of trunk diameter will suffice. During summer, water once per week and during winter water once per month. 


Dry California Native Oaks 

Our native oaks do not require and do not tolerate irrigation in the dry months.  If irrigation is applied near their trunk during the dry season, oak root fungus will grow through the combination of warmth and moisture, which in turn will cause the tree to die.  As Canopy and the City continue to plant drought-tolerant trees that will match our region's rainfall levels, we ask that you help us appropriately care for these new trees on the block.  


Thank you!  

The City of Palo Alto and Canopy have planted thousands of new street trees in the last fifteen years. To assure that these trees survive to maturity, it is important to consider summertime watering needs.  We are happy to answer any questions (please always feel welcome to call our Tree Hotline: 650-964-6110 x1), but the most important element is community participation in providing trees a regular and appropriate supply of water.   

'TREE' - students paint panels to create mural


Trees hold a special place in our hearts as symbols of nature's great strength as well as its majestic beauty.

In this piece organized by Judy Gittelsohn, "at-risk" young men were each given a panel to paint. After painting, they put all the pieces together.

In This Issue
August 20: Special Tree Talk
Smart Watering Guidelines
Upcoming Tree Walks
Young Tree Care Survey
Palo Alto Water Rates
Residential Irrigation Workshop

Upcoming Tree Walks        

Please join us at our upcoming Arborist-led Tree Walks.  We gather every month on the second Saturday from 10AM to Noon. Click here to sign up.   

August 13th - Community Center
August 20th - Special Talk & Walk
Sept. 10th - University South
October 8th - Southgate
Nov. 12th - Downtown North
Dec. 10th - Greenmeadow 
January 2012 - Gamble Garden
Click the above links to see the self-guided Tree Walks or request a brochure: or call 650-964-6110 x2.    

Young Tree Care Survey       

Thank you volunteers for joining our annual Young Tree Care Survey to check the health of recently planted trees! We have completed all but 10 routes, and we would appreciate your help to complete our project.   


About the Survey: Routes take approximately 2 hours; you'll survey a mapped out area of trees and distribute tree care info brochures to residents.   

What to Wear/Bring: Walking shoes, sunglasses, hat, water bottle, sunscreen.    

Canopy Will Provide: Survey forms, clipboards, gloves, tools for "tree first aid," and a water probe. 


Please let us know if you would like to participate. We can reserve a survey for you to complete in your neighborhood, if available.   


Michael Hawkins

Program Director  

650-964-6110 x1 


Palo Alto Water Rates          

Water rates are likely to increase in October 2011.  If approved by the City Council in September, the impact on residents of proposed water rates will depend on their monthly use.  


The water needed to adequately irrigate a tree, however, is small and preserves a valuable environmental asset.  For example, the typical tree will need to be watered twice monthly, totaling 30 gallons. This is approximately equivalent to flushing the toilet 7 times!  For most residents, this amount of water would not make a noticeable impact on their water bill.  


For more information about rate changes and other water saving programs, please visit the public utility webpage.  


Residential Irrigation Basics

This workshop is designed for homeowners interested in learning more about the installation and maintenance of a residential irrigation systems.  


Saturday, August 13, 2011 

9:00 AM to 1:00PM  

Lucie Stern Center - 

Community Room


Among a host of other topics, participants will learn how to maintain appropriate irrigation of trees while keeping a low water use landscape design.

Click here to register for this class or call (650) 329-2241

Quick Links

New Green Line/ Rule
Trees are the lungs of our cities.  Caring for urban forests and teaching about their value lie at the heart of Canopy's programs. Canopy is a nonprofit that plants and protect trees to improve communities in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.
New Green Line/ Rule