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:
  • 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: 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:
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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

The Endangered – Bees

4969a27d-af27-4a13-b9e8-7f10cbc27078 610

Bees are the fuzzy flying insects that some people love, some fear, and all benefit from.  There are 20,000 known species of bees around the globe and they help pollinate 35% of all agricultural crops.

What are you doing for Earth Day 2015?

Here are some of the ways Tree Musketeers Youth Managers are giving back!


Northrop Grumman Earth Day Workshop

Thurs, April 23, 12pm – 2pm

Tree Musketeer’s Youth Managers will give an informational talk on the benefits of trees to Northrop Grumman employees to celebrate Earth Day!


VOICE Earth Day Festival

Sat, April 25, 11am – 4pm

A fun event with food trucks, music, education, and shopping to celebrate the Planet. Stop by the Tree Musketeers table and say hello! Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


Come Volunteer With Us!

Wed, April 22, 3pm — Tree Care Team

Fri, April 24, 3pm — The Habitat

Sat, April 25, 10am — TLC for Trees

To sign up call 310-322-0263 or email

Arbor Day 2015 was a success!

On March 7th, 2015 the City of El Segundo and Tree Musketeers held their 28th Annual Arbor Day Celebration! Tall and Small volunteers came out to plant over 60 trees and to care for Trees to the Sea along Imperial highway. The tree planting and care were followed up by lunch provided by Chevron, our Presenting Sponsor, ice cream from Cold Stone and an opportunity drawing for participants that were present.

We also had speeches made by our co-founder Tara Church, State Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, City of El Segundo Councilmember Marie Fellhauer and Wirt Morton, great-great grandson to Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton.

Take a look at the great work our volunteers accomplished!

Arbor Day is on its Way!

2014,3-8 Arbor Day young volunteers and YPS Tira MansbacherEl Segundo’s 28th Annual Arbor Day Celebration is soon approaching! It will be a great day of service to the community and the Earth. As if that were not enough, everyone gets lunch and all donors of any amount get T-shirts. Mark your calendars for March 7, 9:30am-12:30pm and decide how you want to participate.

Volunteer! Join with hundreds of tall and small friends and neighbors who will plant and provide tender loving care to trees along Imperial Ave. in El Segundo. Click here for the Registration PDF.

Be a Leader! All volunteer teams will work under the direction of trained Youth Supervisors who are supported by Adult Partners. More are needed, so sign up for:

Youth Planting Supervisor Training (kids 10-18) on Saturday, Feb 17 from 10am-3pm (Registration Form)

Adult Partner Orientation on Thursday, Feb 19 from 5:30-7:30pm. (Registration Form)

Be a Sponsor! This investment will not be in a day, but an entire year of love for the 1,800 trees in and around El Segundo that are dependent upon Tree Musketeers. Click here for the Sponsorship PDF.

Come back often to get the latest scoop on Arbor Day or call the Youth LEADership Center at 310/322-0263.

End of year gifts & tax deduction with Tree Musketeers

It’s the end of the year and whether you are looking for a tax-deduction or gifts that make a difference for your loved ones, we have you covered at Tree Musketeers!

Your donation to support our work in the South Bay and around the world is 100% tax-deductible. You can donate online or send your contribution to: 305 Richmond St., El Segundo, CA 90245. Checks are payable to “Tree Musketeers.”
Tree Musketeers is a nonprofit organization with a 501 (c) 3 status under Internal Revenue Code. Our EIN is 95-4277842.

Our Store is full of great ideas for meaningful gifts, such as Marcie the Marvelous Tree’s Autobiography, Earth Cards or our One in a Million Poster. When shopping online, remember to use AmazonSmile and GoodShop: once you’ve said you want to support Tree Musketeers, we will receive a percentage of what you spend.

You can also adopt or plant a tree to honor the people you love. Learn more on our Memory Tree page. Our next Memory Tree Plantings will be on January 24th & February 28th, 2015 at 1pm on Memory Row.

For any questions, feel free to call our office at (310) 322-0263 or to email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

We need your help now to Save Our Trees to the Sea!

SONY DSCWe are still fundraising for the Save Our Trees to the Sea project and need YOU to give the biggest donation you can afford (any amount helps, really) to reach a $12,500 goal.

This year we have an even bigger challenge. As our arborist, youth planting supervisors and volunteers attempt to keep up with tree care during the ever-present drought we are stretching our funds to the max to ensure our Trees to the Sea continue to thrive for years to come. Trees to the Sea is a collection of 500 trees planted by Tree Musketeers tall and small volunteers between 2005 and 2008 as a green pollution barrier between the Los Angeles International Airport and El Segundo.

To give these trees a helping hand Tree Musketeers aims to raise $12,500 by November 30th. To meet this threshold would mean replenishing our tree care supplies, more water to feed these 500 thirsty trees, more volunteers to lend a helping hand at events and more young people trained as Youth Planting Supervisors.

Please make a contribution today and share the word with your friends and family! Want to help us volunteer by spreading the word among your friends and family? You can create a personal fundraiser page and connect it to our project at Click here to learn how.

Make a Difference Day 2014 was a success!

On October 25th, 2014  Tree Musketeers organized their 2nd Annual Make a Difference Day event. 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 99 bags of trash and invasive plants.

Take a look at the great work by our volunteers!

New Youth Planting Supervisors and Adult Partners training

Each year TREE MUSKETEERS organizes several sessions to train new Youth Planting Supervisors and orient new Adult Partners.

Youth Planting Supervisors and Adult Partners are instrumental to the work of TREE MUSKETEERS: they ensure professional youth leadership in all our volunteer activities.

TREE MUSKETEERS has developed a team of young people – Youth Planting Supervisors (YPS) – who are trained, according to ISA guidelines, to lead proper tree planting and care events. These young leaders work alongside other kids and adults to expand our local Urban Forest. In addition to leading tree plantings, Youth Planting Supervisors serve as representatives and leaders of TREE MUSKETEERS and the environmental movement at tree care events, fairs and other events. Learn more and sign up here.

The Adult Partners Team (APT) is comprised of  adults of all ages to serve as mentors for youth volunteering at TREE MUSKETEERS. APT creates a solid support system for both at-risk and mainstream youth. APT members come from the residential and business communities, and volunteer for a comfortable level of participation. Options range from serving as an occasional adviser to committing to mentor one child for a longer term or working with a youth ordered by courts or schools to perform community service. Learn more and sign up here.



To empower young people to be environmental leaders