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Water Authority: Plant Trees To Save Water

Water Authority: Plant Trees To Save Water

Tree-bate Program Announced For Water Conservation

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has a message for homeowners who want to conserve water: plant trees.

The Water Authority has re-launched its Tree-bate program that will offer rebates of up to $100 for homeowners and up to $500 for businesses that plant trees on their property.

“What’s the best thing you can do for our community’s climate and your outdoor environment this year? Plant a tree,” Carlos Bustos, conservation program manager for the Water Authority, said Friday in announcing the Tree-bate program.

“While trees do require water to survive, they actually help conservation by providing shade and reducing energy consumption, but it’s important to plant the right tree in the right place so that it can grow and thrive for years to come.”

The rebates of 25 percent off the purchase of a tree will be offered in the form of credits on customers’ bills, with the $100 and $500 caps for residential and commercial customers. Additional Tree-bates are available for professional tree care such as pruning, fertilization or installation, Bustos said, adding that tree removals won’t qualify for the rebates.

There are more than 130 trees that qualify for the rebates, but the ABCWUA has a list of 20 that thrive in this area. Any tree in the Water Authority’s xeriscape guide plant list that is not designated as high water use qualifies for the rebate.

Bustos said experts estimate that a single urban tree, which costs $60-$250 to purchase and care for, can return more than $2,500 in environmental benefits and increased property value over its lifetime.

Amos Arber, the Water Authority’s xeriscape inspector and certified arborist, said lots of trees in the area that were planted in the 1930s and 1940s are nearing the end of their lifespan.

“We’re losing a lot of tree canopy as a result, and that’s why we want to encourage tree-planting and proper tree care in the community,” Arber said.

Here’s a list of the 20 most recommended trees for this area:

  • Accolade Elm
  • Afghan Pine
  • Austrian Pine
  • Burr Oak
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Chinquapin Oak
  • Desert Willow
  • ‘Emerald Sunshine’ Elm
  • Escarpment Live Oak
  • Goldenrain Tree
  • Honeylocust Cultivars
  • Japanese Scholar Tree
  • Lacebark Elm
  • Netleaf Hockberry
  • Oklahoma Redbud
  • Piñon Pine
  • Russian Hawthorn
  • Screwbean Mesquite
  • Texas Red Oak
  • Washington Hawthorn
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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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