Log In

Reset Password

Plant water-wise trees

Durango is an inviting town with lots to offer in terms of outdoor activities, a plethora of low paying and poor-training jobs, and environmental disasters that make most natives wish for some common-sense policymaking. And some planting of fewer water-demanding trees, shrubs and bushes.

Siberian elm trees were likely emigrated to the Southwest from the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and, potentially, the Northeast as well. As is obvious, these areas lack the chronic water shortage that is a direct effect of people immigrating here, regardless of the environmental catastrophe it causes. Through their huge root systems, which sap water out of the soils, less troublesome oak, spruce, maple and cottonwoods (in areas with adequate water) can provide excellent shade protection. But they aren’t fly-by-night trees. They require long-term commitment and daily watering to succeed.

Decreasing the number of rental properties and limiting Airbnb’s uses of property can help with these problems. Longtime property owners can help with the environment and should be rewarded with tax incentives for planting healthy native trees, while city and state governments can help by removing the thousands of self-planting and damaging trees brought here from elsewhere. Burning the trees isn’t always successful as their seed profiles tend to be hardy as well as durable.

Think before you plant and pay attention to the water sources we need to protect so desperately here in Southwest Colorado.

Christa Turnell