upper waypoint

California Drought Toll: First Your Lawn, Now Your Trees

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

"Brown is the new green" is the rallying cry for fighting the current drought. But does it have to mean letting your trees go, too?  (Craig Miller/KQED)

By now, most Californians have gotten the message: let the lawn go. There’s a drought on. Many have turned off their sprinkler systems all together.

That has meant some collateral damage, however; along with the grass, trees are dying, too, and those are valuable in lots of ways lawns are not.

KQED’s Rachael Myrow talks with Igor Laćan, an urban forestry advisor with UC’s Cooperative Extension, about the implications of losing our trees, and how to prevent it.

Trees that are obviously dead and dying are a safety hazard, a fire hazard, and potentially a lawsuit waiting to happen. Laćan raises some compelling reasons to rescue struggling trees, though, like the boost they give to property values. Healthy trees also provide shade, filter the air, and generally make cities more “livable.”

Other questions Laćan takes on:

  • Does it matter if the tree on your lawn is native?
  • If you’re letting your lawn die, how do you keep your trees alive without attracting the attention of neighborhood drought-shamers?
  • There’s a big, brewing El Nino out in the Pacific that could portend a punishing storm season this winter. What’s that’s likely to do to drought-weakened trees?
  • What are Bay Area cities and counties doing to avoid becoming bleak, sun-baked deserts?


lower waypoint
next waypoint
More Hot Weather Is Coming to the Bay Area. Here’s How Long It Will LastCalifornia Has a New State Park, and It Is Now OpenCalifornia Shows Where Insurers Would Need to Boost Coverage in Fire-Prone AreasCalifornia’s New 1600-Acre State Park Set to Open This WeekSan Francisco's Aging Infrastructure Ill-Prepared for Future Flooding, Report WarnsCalifornia Researchers Develop Board Game to Teach Wildfire Safety. Can It Save Lives?What to Know About Landmark Wildfire Bills Led by California CongressmanWhat Are Those Weird, Pink Ponds in San Francisco Bay?Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Snail SexEver Wake Up Frozen in the Middle of the Night, With a Shadowy Figure in the Room?