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Monday, July 10, 2017

Pines In Las Vegas With NO Irrigation! Yes, its possible.

Q. Could you please explain why the pine trees surrounding the office complex called Quail Park IV at 2820 West Charleston planted right next to the buildings and surrounded by asphalt are so huge? Where are they getting the water? 
Not on the Quail Park properties but pine surrounded by asphalt but doing well.
A. Since I cannot verify this I will only speculate. But first let me tell you about another situation. Many years ago there were pines growing along the SW corner of Sahara and the Strip. The hotel/casino that was there was long gone but the pine trees remained. No irrigation. But they survived there happily for many years.
When pine trees don't get enough water the canopy begins to look very thin, sparse growth and the top of the canopy "flattens" and doesn't get as tall as its well-watered brothers.
We had a staff member in our office under my direction whose job was to answer questions much like the Master Gardeners do now for Cooperative Extension. This was pre-1990. Her name was Hobby St.Denis and who was actually a mentor of mine very early in my career. I heard her tell people to "not water so much. Look at the pines growing at Sahara and the Strip. Those pines have not been watered for years!"

We knew about the shallow aquifer that flows from the NW of the valley to the SE. It is very shallow through much of Las Vegas. It is so shallow that parking garages on the Strip had to pump water out of the bottom levels so they didn't flood! It is so shallow at that location the pines had all the water they wanted! No irrigation.

I am guessing these pines at Quail Park are pulling water from the same aquifer. You can read some very boring research articles about this aquifer (I can say that because I was one of the authors) if you google "las vegas shallow saline aquifer" and read all about it. Be prepared for a good nights sleep!

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