Driving into Tomball this morning for our regular Monday breakfast date, I couldn't help noticing that the trees along the way are looking so much worse than they did even a week or ten days ago. They are dying everywhere. It is heartbreaking.
I remember several years ago - don't recall the exact year - we were on a road trip around this time of year when we were in another extended drought, and all along our route we kept seeing individual trees that had died. But this time it's not just isolated individuals, it is clumps, stands of trees that are dying.
Even my non-gardening husband, who generally pays no attention to the garden except for the vegetables and fruits that come from it, has become concerned about our own trees.
We moved here 23 years ago in the summer. The large lot on which our house sat was bare except for a couple of magnolia trees that the former owners had planted and a couple of struggling fruit trees that succumbed within our first years here. Our lot was hot, sunbaked, and brown. We wanted it to be green and shady and inviting, and so the first winter that we were here, we planted several trees - too many, if the truth be told. There were live oaks, red oaks and Mexican sycamores. After more than twenty years of growth, those trees are giants now and most of our yard is green and shady and several degrees cooler than the sunny parts.
The trees are important to us. They grew up with our children. They are part of our family history. They've been through ice storms, droughts, and hurricanes with us. I'll never forget the sound of their groaning through the night when Ike came through almost three years ago. They groaned and bent as the winds tortured them that night, but they did not break. Hubby has now vowed that they must be saved regardless of the cost! That is a strong statement coming from him, especially in view of the fact that we just got our water bill for last month and it was more than twice as much as it had ever been before. (Please don't ask me how much that is - my fingers can't even bear to type the numbers!)
I had not even tried to water the big trees during this long drought. They are so huge and drink so much, how could I possibly give them what they need? But last week I watered my old friends. I know it wasn't as much as they needed, but two grown magnolia trees in my neighbors' yards have already died. I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to do what I could, no matter how inadequate it might be.
I will continue to water them once a week, as much and as long as I can, while this drought drags on. It may mean that I have to cut back on watering elsewhere in the yard, but we all have our priorities, and, looking about my neighborhood as trees turn brown, I realize that, for me, my trees are priority number one.