Rec & Parks is asking you to stop watering the self-watering trees

Sep 20, 2017

The Recreation and Parks Department is posting flyers around Elysian Park with an unusual request: Don’t water the trees.

The flyers are being distributed in areas where about 300 saplings have been planted in Elysian Park since last fall under a pilot program. The tiny trees were planted in what are called Land Life Cocoons, which help support the tree and force the roots deeper into the ground to tap into ground water. The cocoon also includes a circular basin, covered by mulch, that stores and supplies water to the young trees. According to the manufacturer, the saplings won’t have to be irrigated during the first year after they have been planted.

However, some folks think the trees could use some help – and water, which officials say is not a good idea. Apparently the unwanted tree watering began after a person began urging others to irrigate the trees, according to the Urban Forestry Division. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, one of the program’s sponsors, said the tree lovers are doing more harm than good:

“These trees do not need additional water, in fact doing so could harm the process. Although it may be difficult to watch a sapling die, it is critical to learn from the survival rate of the cocoons planted for this pilot program to be effective.”

Park visitors are being advised against watering, touching or tampering with the trees and cocoons to monitor the results of the pilot program. If this approach proves successful, the pilot could go citywide to replenish the urban forest in a sustainable manner.

The Department of Recreation of Parks will post signs around the park asking people to not touch or water the trees. The signs will also have a QR code and a number to the Forestry Division within the Department of Recreation and Parks for more information. Those wanting to learn more can call at (213) 485-4826 or visit

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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher
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