When Mary Proteau posted a note on the social media site Nextdoor.com about watering the neighborhood street trees during the big heatwave two weeks ago, she was shocked by the extraordinary response she got from her neighbors.
Proteau, who volunteers as part of the Friends of Griffith Park, has learned a thing or two about trees and what they need to survive in dry, hot weather. She authored an article on the effort, last summer, about mulching the trees at Fern Dell, some of which are over 100 years old. The mulch helps preserve whatever moisture there is, reducing the stress on the trees and helping make them stronger and better able to fend off parasites and disease.
Concerned about the Sycamore trees on her block in Citrus Square, Proteau asked her neighbors if they would help water the young trees that had been planted in the parkway on Sycamore Avenue between 1st and 2nd Street. She said the trees just needed about four gallons of water once or twice a week to help them through the heat. Even the older, more mature trees would benefit, she said, because they have adapted to being watered by sprinklers and their roots are fairly shallow.
“Even minimal watering will help the trees,” Proteau told the Buzz. And many residents jumped in with buckets and hoses to water the trees near their homes.
“I had no idea that people would jump on this, as many did, and as quickly as they did,” said Proteau. One resident posted that her husband basically used the instructions from Proteau’s post and created a flyer, which he distributed around the neighborhood.
“I had 44 responses to my tree post. One person suggested I run for office!” said Proteau. “I still can’t get over the response.”