This is—well, was—Elvis Presleaf, one of the oldest trees here in our park. After 80 years of life, Mr. Presleaf was just one of dozens of trees in our park which have succumb to the debilitating drought.
Elvis played an important role in our Eco-tours. Over the past 20 years, he shaded nearly 200,000 visiting students at the Dirt Doctor Station, where kids learn the importance of soil.
It’s easy to forget how severely trees are affected by drought. After all, LA yards look pretty green. Water flows freely from our tap. Even after four years of drought, few things feel different on a day-to-day basis for the average Angeleno.
All of us at TreePeople perched atop Coldwater Canyon Park, however, are seeing the effects up close—particularly in the form of dying trees. We often assume mature tree roots are well enough established to tap into groundwater sources. But, as we’ve seen in the case of trees like Elvis Presleaf, that is no longer the case. It’s a sign of how significantly our water reserves have been depleted. Not to mention another challenge— drought-stressed trees have to struggle harder to fight off pests and disease. These issues combined spell danger for our park trees’ future, if they don’t receive swift relief.
“There are days it truly depresses me,” Jim Hardie, TreePeople’s Director of Park Operations said. Hardie is growing concerned about the long-term consequences of drought. For starters, the city has temporarily run out of budget for brush clearance. As summer approaches, the increase in climate, combined with the rise of dying trees, draws concern for potential wildfire.
Rosa Donis, TreePeople’s Senior Manager of Educational and Elvis Presleaf’s biggest fan, was surprised by how quickly the effects of drought set in.
“One week he was fine. The next, his leaves started to turn brown,” she recalled. By that point, it was too late. There was nothing that could be done. “Our trees do so much for us,” Rosa urged. “We need to water them—even if you think they’re fine—before it’s too late.”
Currently, plans are in the works to deliver recycled water to the park site in order to prevent further losses. However, we need you to play a part in protecting trees in our city! Here are a few ways you can help:
- Volunteer – Visit our calendar and sign up to care for trees at an upcoming event.
- Learn – Do you know how to properly care for the trees on your property? Check out this blog post for more information, and water your trees regularly.
- Donate – TreePeople is committed to protecting the city’s canopy in an effort to become a climate and water-resilient city. Give today to continue our work and minimize the effects of drought on our park.