Extreme heat, dry conditions bring challenges for vegetation


SAN DIEGO – Tyler Bremner is a tree expert. That’s what happens after 16 years on the job.

As of late, he says there’s a real problem.

A dried out tree on display on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 in Ramona, Calif.

“Yeah, this guy’s gotta go,” said Bremner, approaching a dried out tree Monday afternoon in Ramona. “You can tell the bark is peeling back. It’s completely dead. There’s signs of pests, but probably 75% chance that’s from drought. You can shake this thing over and it’s ready to go.”

The National Weather Service Monday morning issued a heat advisory warning of highs in the 90s in the mountains through 8 p.m. Wednesday. A more serious excessive-heat watch will be in effect in desert areas, including Borrego Springs, from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening, the NWS advised.

Over the period, maximum thermometer readings of 114 to 120 will be possible, meteorologists say.

The weather service advises those in the affected areas to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of direct sunlight during the heat of the day, wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, take refuge in air-conditioned buildings if possible and check up on potentially at-risk relatives and neighbors.

Bremner’s company, The Treekeeper, specializes in tree removal, and with the warm, dry conditions, it’s been a busy year. The drought has hit younger trees especially hard, he said.

He said they can also cause a serious fire threat if not removed quickly.

“I feel like nothing has been falling out of the sky,” he said. “A lot of these trees are dependent on that source and it’s just, if you don’t hand-water them, you’re losing a lot of the trees lately.”

The signs of excessive heat are showing up in multiple places in Ramona, including popular hiking trails.

“There’s a lot of people who will bring a husky up here and they’re not meant for that weather,” hiker Emmy Sivadge said. “It’s on their feet, too, the asphalt.”

Sivadge insists that it’s still “hiking weather.” As for fellow hiker Haley Braga, she says, “I might go get water.”

Speaking of water, Bremner said homeowners should be hitting their plants with 50-100% more water this year.

“With the heat and the drought, it’s pretty bad right now,” he said. “I’m just praying for more rain right now at this point.”

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