Make a Difference Day 2015 was a success!

On October 24th, 2015 Tree Musketeers organized their 3rd Annual Make a Difference Day event. Make a Difference Day is the largest national day of community service. Here in El Segundo, Tree Musketeers likes to dedicate this time to tree care for our local trees in preparation for planting season! Tall and Small volunteers came out to care for our Trees to the Sea along Imperial Highway by participating in a clean-up competition. We collected over 280 bags of trash and invasive plants!

Watch our live feed replay and photo gallery below.

The Endangered – Chinchilla

Chinchilla

Many people choose to keep Chinchillas as pets even though they are expensive and a big commitment; but they’re so much more than that. While many Chinchilla owners think of them as domestic pets, they are an important part of their native ecosystem, and unfortunately they are critically endangered.

Save Our Water & Our Trees

waterconservationLess than 1% of Earth’s water is of drinking quality and it must meet the needs of over 7.3 billion people worldwide. No matter where you are you can help save water. Check out the great educational resources to learn tips and tricks to put in action and campaigns to join on our Water Learn Page!

The Endangered – White Rhinoceros

Northern_White_Rhinoceros_AngalifuWhite Rhinos, the largest of all rhinos, are daunting, cute, and unfortunately very close to extinction. These animals are the second largest land mammal, and are found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya. The primary reasons for their near extinction are poaching and habitat loss. These animals are not aggressive and usually travel in herds, making them an easier target for hunters.

The latest from the 3×3 Campaign

000_0005Last month six youth participated in planting 250 trees at the Njap Water Catchment Facility in Nkambe Central of the North West Region of Cameroon. Partners for the Planet has had almost one million trees planted for its 3×3 Campaign. Will you join them?

The Endangered – African Elephant

elephantElephants are the big animals that make cute, huge babies that everyone adores. Unfortunately, many species of elephants, including the African elephant, are in danger of becoming extinct. This is due in large part because they’re hunted for the precious ivory their tusks are made of. In the meantime, elephants have been trying to keep doing the work they do best: carefully landscaping their surrounding habitats to facilitate growth and rejuvenation. Elephants are more capable than they appear, and it’s best to be aware of their abilities so that we can better take care of them.

So You Decided to Water Your Lawn Less, Now What?

With growing awareness of California’s catastrodrip line imagephic drought, talk has turned to water conservation, often with an emphasis on turning off sprinklers and letting lawns die. While it is true that landscaping accounts for 57% of the water used in California homes, this water often has greater environmental benefits than it is credited. Lawns produce oxygen and sequester the carbon that is a primary cause of global warming. Perhaps more importantly, the water used for irrigating a home’s landscape also trickles into the soil and provides much needed water to any trees sharing ground with the vilified lawn. Grass absorbs water and pollutants from the air and filters them through its blades and roots, effectively cleaning the air and ground water. It also helps prevent erosion with its roots by acting as a binder for the soil. It breaks up the heat island effect, a major contributor to global warming, and makes our yards useable for parties and play. However, it takes a lot of water to keep it green. In caring for our trees we are also caring for our Planet, and so it is important to consider the most effective ways to continue to adequately water our trees even when providing less water to the landscape surrounding them. Below is a list of ways you can keep your trees healthy while using less water on landscaping.

Want to maintain your lawn and still conserve water? Here are some options:

  • Most people over-water their lawns to achieve that emerald green look which is aesthetically pleasing but also wasteful. Did you know that most types of grass only need 1 inch of water a week to keep them healthy? To make sure that you’re not over or under watering consult this handy guide: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8044.pdf
  • Californians are washing millions of gallons of perfectly good irrigation water down their drains every time they shower, do laundry, or wash the dishes. This water, known as grey water, is not good for personal use, but is perfect for irrigation! Investing in a grey water recapturing system may be costly at first, but it can save you hundreds of dollars a year in water costs. To learn more about installing a grey water system visit this website: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/home-design/greywater-zm0z11zphe.aspx If you are unable or uninterested in installing a grey water system, there are still plenty of ways to capture and use this precious resource. Learn more about grey water here: http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/how-reuse-grey-water-home-and-yard.html
  • You can also make your lawn more water efficient by making sure that it captures all of the water you give it. Dethatching a lawn is the process of cutting it down to one or two inches so that the grass doesn’t tangle and block the water from being absorbed into the soil. Think of it like giving your lawn a buzz cut to remove tangles. You can also aerate your lawn to allow for greater water saturation. Head on over to Sunset to learn more about dethatching and aerating: http://www.sunset.com/garden/garden-basics/dethatching-aerating-your-lawn
  • If you are re-landscaping, use native plants that are more drought tolerant and sink your yard so that rainwater percolates into the soil rather than running off.
  • Replace your sprinkler spray heads with rotors. Rotors put out less water and need to run longer, but the larger drops of water emitted fall directly into your grass rather than inefficiently misting into the air like spray heads.

If you intend to remove your lawn but don’t want to let your trees die, there are a few easy and effective options to ensure that your trees get enough water and stay healthy.

  • If you do choose to get rid of your lawn, please do so in an ecofriendly way. While it’s always tempting to take the easy way out, consider forgoing the use of herbicides, like Roundup, to kill your lawn and instead let it die from lack of water. Herbicides will poison your soil making it difficult to grow any future plants in the space, and they can hurt any surrounding plants you wish to keep, including trees. Herbicides also runoff into the drains and sink into the soil polluting the ocean and what little groundwater we have left. http://www.gardenguides.com/77002-kill-grass-chemicals.html
  • Remember most trees don’t have tap roots, and with a shrinking water table those that do often can’t reach water anymore. If you turn your irrigation off, it’s important to supplement the water your trees are getting, especially during the summer months.
  • You can install a soaker hose around the drip line of the tree. The water needs of the tree depend on its species and size, but in general 2 hours on a slow flow once a month is enough to water your tree. To learn more about watering your trees during the drought consult read more here: http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/when-to-water-trees/7931.html
  • Make sure that your trees are keeping all of the water you are giving them by spreading a layer of mulch under their canopy. Mulch keeps water near the surface of the soil from evaporating. It also provides nutrients to the tree as it breaks down into the soil. We love mulch and recommend a layer 3 to 4 inches deep. Just make sure your mulch is two inches from the trunk of the tree as it can cause crown rot!

While removing a lawn to save water is a commendable eco-action, it’s important to do so carefully. Remember to do your research before changing your landscaping, and consider how turning off the water will affect all of the plants around your property, not just your lawn. For more tips on tree care stay tuned for next season’s Tree Service Quarterly

To empower young people to be environmental leaders