W.F. Stage 4 Drought Restrictions to Impact Trees

There are thousands of trees in Wichita Falls.

Unfortunately, quite a few of them are like this one.


But once the city reaches Stage 4 drought restrictions many fear many more trees around town could become just like this one.

Lack of rain has the City of Wichita Falls losing valuable trees.

The problem was so bad two years ago it prompted a member of the Wichita County Master Gardeners Association to put out signs with this reminder for residents.

"Please, please water your trees," says Peg Marquardt.

But watering may not even be an option soon

"Once we go into Stage 4, a lot of the older trees should survive. The younger, newly planted trees are the ones that are gonna stress," says Richard Long, owner of Richard Long Lawn & Tree Service.

Stress from lack of water can cause a tree to go from this to this.

The Wichita Falls Parks Department has about 20,000 trees that are watered by drip irrigation and surrounded by mulch.

"This is probably the best thing we can do to help the best survival likelihood of the trees once we've reached Stage 4 in which there will be no outside watering," explains Jack Murphy, director of the Wichita Falls Parks & Recreation Department.

But some residents, like Mary Stengel and her husband, have found a way around that rule.

"Last year we started using water from our washing machine to water the trees in our backyard," Stengel says.

While so-called "gray" water can help save residential trees during tougher water restrictions it is not possible for the more than 50,000 planted and native trees maintained by city parks crews.

Parks officials expect to lose several thousand city trees once Stage 4 drought restrictions take effect.

Once you add several thousands trees from residential areas the concern is that Wichita Falls could no longer be very green in the next few years.

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