Trees and Water Conservation

The urban forest contributes to improved water quality and reduced water runoff. Planting trees and maintaining a healthy urban forest can help to conserve water for the community.

Trees manage rain water in storm events by:

  • intercepting rainfall in the foliage, which prevents water runoff
  • absorbing and filtering water that infiltrates into the soil
  • holding stream banks in place with their roots

Trees improve water quality by:

  • reducing soil erosion, which prevents sediment from entering storm drains and streams
  • trapping debris and contaminants in the decaying organic matter that is present in the root zone when water percolates through below the soil surface
  • absorbing contaminants from sub surface water or helping to break them down

Planting trees and landscape plants that are drought tolerant and suited to Edmond’s environmental conditions can further help to conserve water.

  • Drought tolerant plants require less water, resulting in less frequent irrigation and less money spent on a water bill
  • Drought tolerant trees do not need irrigation once they become established
  • Trees can be planted strategically to fulfill other functions such as energy savings from shade over buildings
  • Drought tolerant plants are less likely to become stressed during tough Oklahoma summers, leading to lower costs associated with replacement plants. It also helps you avoid needing to use more water getting replacement plants established.

Here is what you can do to maximize the water conservation benefits experienced through trees and landscaping:

  • Plant the right tree in the right place. Make sure that your tree is matched to the conditions of your site and that it has adequate space to grow without conflictsfrom utilities, paved surfaces or buildings.
  • Plant drought tolerant trees and landscape plants with low water needs.
  • Plant trees in your yard and retain trees on slopes and near waterways to contribute to improved water quality.
  • Apply a 3-4” layer of mulch under the drip line of trees and throughout landscape beds to retain soil moisture and reduce watering needs.