All over Texoma people are doing what they can to save water, while also saving the investment in their landscapes. One of the biggest parts of this is finding ways to keep trees alive.
In 2012, United Regional Hospital found a way to keep the the heat of summer from killing their small trees. Vice President of Facilities Management Rick Carpenter said, "[The tree bags] were a suggestion by our lawn contractor who does our landscaping."
The tree bags are a pretty simple idea, a plastic container holding several gallons of water, and allowing it to slowly seep into the ground at the base of the tree.
While the best way to get water to your trees and plants is a drip or bubbler system, these require access to running water and installing a permanent system can be expensive. Carpenter said, "We do not have an irrigation system for our trees, we do not have tree bubblers like many people do at their homes. We put the bags on the trees and they take 2-3 gallons of water each one, each time, and they fill them 1-2 times a week."
Newschannel 6 spoke with the experts at Wichita Valley Nursery about how effective the tree bags are at getting the water where it needs to be. They said the bags work for young or small trees, where the root system is close to the trunk. If the trees grow too large, the end of the root where water is absorbed, would fall outside the space water is dripping."
United Regional is using TreeGator bags, which cost $17-$30 at online retail stores. Their Website says a single 15-gallon bag can handle a 1-2 inch tree, while two bags used together can handle a tree with 5-8 inch diameter.
Russell Schreiber with the Wichita Falls Public Works Dept. said the bags would still be illegal under stage 4 drought restrictions, unless they're filled with reclaimed water, something Carpenter says they're prepared to do.
He said, "We have access to, and sometimes we do use, re-use water. We purchase it from the city and bring it over here and we also have access to a tank that our lawn contractor has. We could fill up our Gator Bags with that if it does happen. We'd probably cut back a little bit on the frequency because its a bit more labor intensive but we will keep them alive if we can."