Some Township-planted trees were shedding leaves along 96 Avenue, an apparent sign of stress due to the current drought. Township crews are only allowed to hand-water trees, and they are concentrating their efforts on the ones that were planted most recently.

Some Township-planted trees were shedding leaves along 96 Avenue, an apparent sign of stress due to the current drought. Township crews are only allowed to hand-water trees, and they are concentrating their efforts on the ones that were planted most recently.

Drought causing stress for trees throughout Township

Langley parks staff only allowed to hand-water under current restrictions

The current hot and dry weather has been hard on some of the 20,000 Langley trees that are the responsibility of the Township parks department.

They are showing signs of stress, shedding leaves, cones and needles in higher-than normal amounts.

But it’s too soon to tell if the trees are suffering actual harm or will simply rebound once the weather gets wetter, said Al Neufeld, the Township manager of parks design and development.

“It will probably be a year before the full effect of this drought on the trees is known,” Neufeld said.

The Township started watering trees a month earlier than usual in June because of the unseasonably hot spring weather.

Under the current conservation restrictions imposed by the Metro Vancouver regional authority, parks staffers are only allowed to water trees by hand.

They’ve been concentrating their efforts on newly-planted trees that have been in the ground less than two years.

Some new trees are getting green plastic “gator” bags wrapped around their base that are designed to slowly soak water into the roots.

Older trees, with more established roots, don’t require as much help, but there are exceptions.

Recently, in response to a resident’s concerns, parks staff visited a stand of unique heritage redwood trees on 96 Avenue and watered 38 of them.

The redwood trees were planted in 1909 and are protected under a special covenant imposed by council in 1990.

A report by parks staff said the redwood trees have been showing signs of stress for about 10 years now.

It suggested nearby development may have lowered the water table for the century-old trees.

Langley Times