Wednesday, July 25, 2007

At Long Last, Rain, And More!

The Monsoon thunderstorms have finally begun, and with those seasonal wind shifts, the possibility (or more accurately—probability) of wind damage to many landscape trees. The first storm of the season hit my area yesterday, and brought this unsalvageable damage to one of my Willow Acacia (Acacia salicina) trees. The tree is a goner--it lost its crown of all things. I would have expected some degree of damage to the Chilean Mesquites or the Desert Museum Palo Verdes, but not the Willow Acacia, which is far more flexible.

All desert trees used in landscaping are susceptible to wind damage because they get regular water. In habitat, with only occasional rainwater, they are very slow growers, which give them a chance to form deep roots and strong wood. Regular watering causes very fast growth, shallow roots and brittle wood, but then, you get fast shade. That's the tradeoff—shade for probable damage during the seasonal storms. Most homeowners are more interested in shade.

It could have been worse. On the way to town this morning, I saw at least five Mesquites and Palo Verdes completely uprooted—a common occurrence—and several more with broken branches. So, having lost only one tree, I feel lucky this time around. The season is just starting, and every year, it’s a waiting game to see what the next storm brings.

On the bright side, with the windstorm came our first rain in 101 days. It has been raining all around us for a couple of weeks, and then, we finally got one-twentieth of an inch. Folks from other parts wouldn't even call that a rain, but at least it was enough to wash the dust off the plants in my garden.

I’m happy about the rain, and I’m not too upset about the loss of the Willow Acacia. When the landscapers put it in my garden, they erred and placed it 25 feet from where it was supposed to go according to the landscape plan. Eventually it would have interfered with the crown of a Palo Verde, so both would have taken regular, extensive pruning to accomodate the space. In a way, this storm actually saved me some time and expense.


RUTH said...

Sorry to hear of the damage the windstrom did. We have had TOO MUCH rain here in the UK with much flood damage in some areas. Pleased you're getting the much needed rain for your part of the world.

kate said...

So it was a blessing in disguise, in a way. I hadn't given any thought to the difference between landscaped and wild-growing trees - i.e. that they develop differently if regularly watered. It makes sense ...