Outdoor watering restrictions are in effect in Burbank, but apparently at David Starr Jordan Middle School on South Mariposa Street they’re not following city rules. As I walked by the school campus at around 11 a.m. today, I noticed some sprinklers spraying steady streams of water on a lawn section dotted with some young trees.The temperature at the time was 80 and climbing on a hot Labor Day. This is wrong for a number of reasons.
First, outdoor watering in the Media City has been restricted to two days a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays, since June 1, 2015. Also, sprinkler watering is allowed before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Hand watering is allowed on any day, but not between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Secondly, evaporation occurs pretty quickly if you water late in the morning in hot weather. Jordan Middle School reportedly is one of several campuses where recycled water is supposed to be used for irrigation. However, it doesn’t matter what kind of water is being used, recycled or potable — it’s a waste of a resource that is extremely precious in this drought.
Thirdly, if the purpose of the sprinkler watering is for the young trees, well, they’re missing the mark. Landscape architect, Leslie Dievendorf, says you should use “a soaker hose” or “hand watering” because the “water needs to go down deep” to the root. An inch of water (on the lawn) “will soak into the soil between 4 and 6 inches, depending on the soil type.” That’s fine for a lawn, but not so good for trees.
Deep root watering needs to be “14 inches if it (a tree) came in a 5 gallon can and 20-22 inches for a 15 gallon container,” according to Dievendorf. Just watering around a tree is not good enough. Dievendorf explains it “keeps the grass in good condition, but is detrimental to the tree because you’re encouraging shallow roots and not deep rooting,” which is best for a healthy growing tree. Dievendorf has more than 40 years of experience in landscaping of projects, both commercial and residential. (Disclosure: Leslie Dievendorf is married to Media City Groove Editor Fronnie Lewis)
So the Burbank Unified School District, the Board of Education, and School Superintendent Matt Hill need to all jump on this and make sure not only Jordan Middle School, but all of the district’s schools are using water wisely and conforming to city regulations.