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Central Coast cities working to keep urban forests alive amidst drought

Flickr member Jim G

State water officials are concerned our historic drought could be killing millions of trees throughout California.

Central Coast cities are doing what they can to keep our urban forests as healthy as possible. 

It's a tough balancing act for local city managers to meet the governor's mandate on water rationing, while keeping trees alive. 

Dick McKinley is the Public Works Director for Paso Robles. He said his team is now only watering trees and some shrubbery.

"If you look around town, everywhere where we have trees, we still have irrigation going to the trees," he said. "We have a lot of areas where turf is either dying or at least distressed."

Native oaks kick into preservation mode during droughts, soaking up what they can when it is wet.

McKinley said following this month's heavy rains, some trees in the Paso Robles area absorbed so much water, their limbs broke from the additional weight.

In Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, city's departments are doing outreach to inform residents to give trees needed attention.

Experts say to deeply water mature trees one-to-two times per month toward the edge of the tree canopy – not at the base of the tree.

Use a faucet timer to prevent over-watering.

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