The Parks and Recreation Department was quick to respond to reports of drought stress noticed on the younger trees in King William Park! Not having a current contact, Maria and Fred Pfeiffer wrote to the department’s director Xavier Urrutia, who took time to answer within several hours—and on a Sunday! Tree section manager Melinda Cerda and the new city forester Ross Hosea were right on the situation. Ross met Maria and Fred at the park and reviewed the situation. Extra watering was ordered immediately and by Tuesday tree bags were installed and all of the park trees mulched. Ross and his staff will continue to monitor the trees. He is also working with the Downtown Operations Department to water the stressed cypress trees in the park at Pancoast and Chavez. We appreciate all of the quick attention and hope it rains soon to take some of the load off the overworked Parks’ staff.

There is always something to do in the garden.  This article has some tips for cooler weather gardening.  Although some may be repeats from previous articles, is always good to be reminded.

October and November are good months to fertilize lawns, shrubs and trees to promote healthy roots systems for new growth next spring.  With our usually warm South Texas winters, roots continue to grow even if the rest of the plant is dormant. Continue to feed outdoor container grown plants with a water-soluble fertilizer.  Use organic fertilizers, which can be found at independent local nurseries.  

Read more: Out in the Garden: October 2014

Summer officially ends September 22.  At this writing, the first week of August, temperatures have been moderate compared to years past.  However, on August 6, we had our first official 100 degree day.  So it looks like we will have the “dog days” of summer at least for a few weeks. Luckily a glass of iced tea, a porch swing, and a light breeze are enough to get by.  Sit back and relax until about October, which is our second wettest month.

Read more: Out in the Garden: September 2014

The City’s Office of Historic Preservation receives applications and issues administrative approvals for residents who wish to upgrade their landscapes. There are many contributing factors when changing or modifying a landscape within a historic district. This may include various design guidelines, tree preservation ordinances, exemptions, and the Unified Development Code.

Information about landscape modifications and administrative approvals can be found at the OHP website (sanantonio.gov/historic/) and the City’s Unified Development Code site (sanantonio.gov/dsd/udc.asp). You may also contact the Development Services Department, Mark C. Bird, City Arborist at (210) 207-8053, or Justin Krobot, Assistant City Arborist (210) 207-6042. Additional assistance can also be obtained by contacting OHP directly at (210) 215-9274.

One of the big issues in health and the built environment today is equal access for everyone to fresh produce. The food disparity in San Antonio is sobering. Discussions about local food production as a solution to the critical and growing need for access to healthy foods led us to look at our urban neighborhoods and their potential.

Our research uncovered the King William district’s first recorded use as farmland or labors cultivated to support people living at the Alamo. Deeply interested in cultural landscapes, we believe that the existence of mature fruit trees can provide a link to the history of the land use in the area and are remnants of bygone times. One of the goals of The San Antonio Fruit Tree Project is to collect oral histories from the community about their trees. Our city has a long history with agriculture, and these reminders aspire to help all people have access to locally grown fresh food.

Read more: Deep Roots – Fruit in the City The San Antonio Fruit Tree Project