Tree Care During the Summer

The fingerprints of climate change are becoming more pronounced. As prolonged heat and drought  become part of the normal rhythms of the season, how do we take care of our trees? Unprecedented temperatures and seasons of drought can be extremely hard on trees, especially landscape trees in our urban forest.  If they  are not well-watered, harsh temperatures make trees more susceptible to insects and disease. Extended periods of drought can cause stress in both newly planted and mature, well-established trees.

Here are some tips collected from the City of Lake Oswego,  Friends of Trees, and Portland Parks & Recreation to help you shift into summer plant care mode and help your landscapes handle and recover from spans of extreme heat.


Drought Stress

  • Plants that are subjected to water stress drastically decrease their resistance to opportunistic pathogens and insect invasions.
  • Research your trees! Some species are more drought sensitive than others and require specific cultural requirements for watering, soil quality and climate.
  • When monitoring drought stress, City of Lake Oswego advises you to be on the lookout for sparse canopy, wilting  foliage, yellowing leaves, premature fall coloration, or leaf drop.


  • Soil quality and type has a large impact on how successful a watering method is.
  • Observe your soil. How quickly does it dry out after rain or watering? Dry soil can cause tree roots to die and reduce a tree’s ability to absorb water when it does finally rain.
  • Sandy soils need shorter watering intervals because water drains quickly. Clay and less porous soils should have longer watering intervals.
  • Soil moisture should be checked by hand! Portland Parks & Rec suggests an easy way to test soil is to stick a long screwdriver at least 12 inches into ground below your tree and see how much resistance from the soil you receive. If you receive a lot of resistance, the tree needs more water. If there is mud sticking to the end of the screwdriver when you pull it up, the water has properly seeped into the root zone.
  • Friends of Trees  suggests mulching trees with 3-4 inches of organic mulch (woodchips, compost) to reduce soil evaporation and maintain a consistent soil temperature.  Remember the root zone is as big as the tree’s canopy so you need to mulch a large area not just at the base of the tree.

General Watering Tips

  1. Water trees in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation.
  2. Irrigate slowly so water percolates deep into the soil and root zone. This video by Friends of Trees demonstrates an effective, slow-drip watering system using a five-gallon drilled bucket.
  3. Other effective drip irrigation systems include ooze tubes and soaker hoses
  4. When using hoses, make sure to move around different areas under the tree.
  5. Try not to water too much! Davey Trees has a helpful article about decoding your trees’ clues that they’re being overwatered.

Tips for Watering Young Trees

  1. Because most of the Pacific Northwest’s precipitation occurs in winter and early spring months, nature is not watering the young trees when they’re experiencing the most growth.
  2. Newly planted trees should be watered about 10 to 15 gallons of water each week in their first three summers after planting with an extra 15 gallons during dry spells.
  3. It’s best to water infrequently, once or twice a week during long heat waves,
  4. Irrigate slowly and deeply to encourage roots to grow deeper.
  5. To encourage roots to grow outwards, avoid watering a young tree  too close to its trunk and stick to watering over the root zone between the trunk and the edge of its leafy canopy (dripline). This will expand the young tree’s drip line over the coming years.
  6. This helpful video module by Friends of Trees demonstrates three different watering methods for young trees:
    • You can purchase 15-20 gallon watering bags at a nursery to place around young trees. Fill once a week, or twice during heat waves.
    • Drill three small holes a half inch apart into the base of a 5 gallon bucket. Fill three times during the course of the day and rotate it around the tree’s root zone.
    • Place a trickling hose in the root zone for 15-30 minutes once a week.

Tips for Watering Mature Trees

  1. This video by the US Forest Service recommends watering mature trees once or twice a month slowly and deeply to keep them happy during dry months.
  2. Circle a soaker hose  around the outer edge, or drip line, of the tree canopy. This is where water naturally drips off the tree canopy when it rains.
  3. Don’t water your mature tree at the base of the trunk. Too much water will rot the roots.
  4. Turn on your soaker hose in the early morning or late evening and let the water seep in for at least one hour.

Become an Electrification Coach

Introducing a new volunteer coaching program from Electrify Oregon and the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network

Consumers around Oregon are interested in electrification, but it’s complicated. They may want to weatherize their homes, install solar panels, heat pumps, and batteries, or buy an EV. It can hard to decide how to prioritize, how to find contractors or how to find incentives. As an electrification coach, you will offer independent advice without a financial incentive.

How do I sign up to become a coach with Electrify Oregon?

Electrify Oregon, a statewide electrification group, is working with community organizations throughout the state to offer a coaching program. If you are interested in becoming an electrification coach:

  1. Sign up for the Rewiring America coaching. You will get a response from them with instructions
  2. Email your name and email address to LOSN Board Member Lisa Adatto at That way we can invite you to the Oregon-specific training and get you started here in our state.

What kind of training will I receive?

All of the training will be virtual. You will go through a month-long program offered by Rewiring America, taught by some of the best experts in the US. You will meet fellow coaching students from around the country. It has the following components:

  • Four comprehensive 90-minute Zoom classes, available in real time, or at your convenience, about weatherization, electrification products like induction stoves, heat pumps, batteries and more, EV’s, financial programs, and how to coach
  • Coaching tools including the Personal Electrification Plan (PEP), the opportunity to roleplay, and details about IRA and other financial resources
  • A workbook for each class
  • Videos and written material covering all aspects of electrification
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge and identify any misunderstandings
  • Homework including your first coaching session and creating a resource handbook
  • Access to experts who work with you one-on-one
  • Ongoing access to the Rewiring online community for coaches

You will also attend one Zoom workshop hosted by Electrify Oregon to orient you to the logistics, support services and expectations for coaches who participate in the Oregon program. If you are drawn to one particular area of interest (like heat pumps or solar panels), we will encourage you to get extra training and become a subject expert.

What is expected of me as a coach for Electrify Oregon?

  • Once trained, we expect that you will put in five to ten hours a month coaching clients.
  • You will receive names of clients from Electrify Oregon or from your local community electrification organization that participates in Electrify Oregon.
  • You will be track your coaching sessions and your answers to client questions on the Electrify Oregon online system.
  • You will be invited to attend a monthly zoom coaching meeting during which we will look at particular cases and discuss best practices.
  • If you become a subject expert you may be coaching people from around the state. Other coaches may refer people to you.
  • You will have latitude in your approach to coaching. Many coaches work by zoom or by text or phone. You may also choose to meet people in-person at local events, coffee shops or their homes.
  • If there is interest, we may offer an annual in-person get together for coaches.

What support and other benefits will I get?

Most people coach because they enjoy working in their community, are passionate about solving climate change, and want to be part of this exciting movement. As an Electrify Oregon coach, you will be part of the Electrify Oregon community with a monthly coaching meeting to share ideas, advice and resources, and we hope you will build relationships with other coaches in your community and across the state.

Be one of the first electrification coaches in Oregon!

The Electrify Oregon coaching program will launch in the fall of 2024. As the first cohort of coaches, we will look to you for advice and feedback about the program, how it works and how to improve it. Get in on the ground floor and be part of the solution!

Storm Landscape Services Shares Transition to Electric Equipment

An interview with Randy Mihalko, Owner STORM Landscape Services

How did you get the electric contract with the city?

We have a good relationship with the Public Works Department. They invited us to submit a proposal in 2021 for the landscape maintenance program for what they call the Multi-Site Landscape Maintenance contract. In order to be invited to submit proposals for their contracts you have to meet their criteria which we do. The contract selection process has a grading system based on price, experience, references, personnel, etc. We were selected for the contract based on their grading process. They requested two prices; one for gas equipment and one for electric equipment. Public Works then submitted both of those prices to the City Council to vote on. I had a meeting with them to answer questions about the gas versus electric and they voted in favor of the electric contract. I believe the vote was 4 to 3 so it was not unanimous.

How many electric crews do you have? How many gas crews?

We have 15 total landscape maintenance crews and 6 of them are strictly electric. The other 9 crews are gas with a few electric backpack blowers mixed in depending on the customer contracts.

Do you intend to add more electric crews? Does electric-powered work cost more than gas-powered work done by your company?

Yes, approximately 20-30% more depending on the scope of work. More deciduous trees and more lawn means higher percentage cost.

What are some of the other large accounts you have using electric equipment?

Electric contracts are with the City of Lake Oswego, Portland General Electric, and Providence Hospitals. Both are very large contracts. We have hybrid contracts with Mary’s Woods Retirement Community and Arranmore HOA.

Can you take on any more commercial work?

Commercial, yes.

What are the pros and cons of transitioning to electric landscaping equipment for commercial landscapers?


1. quieter (less intrusive and healthier for customers and employees).
2. no emission (healthier for environment and employees)
3. less mechanical maintenance (no oil, spark plugs, filters, belts, etc to replace)
4. longer warranty period
5. fuel savings


  • initial cost of equipment is much higher
    • 60″ mower is $24k for electric (Greenworks Optimus) versus $10k for gas (Exmark Vertex)
    • backpack blower is $8k for electric (tool, chargers, 16 batteries) versus $600 for gas
    • backpack blower is about half as productive as gas (all other equipment and mowers are same productivity as gas)
  • invest in electric infrastructure to charge batteries
    • up size circuit panel, install sub-panels, install additional circuits and outlets in shop $8k
    • up size PGE meter (our panel is maxed based on the size of our meter, waiting 3 months for PGE design team, still unsure of cost)
  • mobile refueling limitations
    • with gas equipment we have cans of gas to refuel, with battery equipment it requires a mobile battery charging system
      • fabricated a battery generator charging system in enclosed trailer $11k for trailer, $9k for battery generators and charging system
      • install 30 amp RV outlets in the yard @ $4k per trailer

What advice would you give to other commercial landscaping companies transitioning to electric?

Plan on considerable start up costs as noted above and lots of training for employees. During leaf season plan on considerably higher labor costs to make up for the backpack blower production shortfall.

Defining Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Most of us have heard the three R’s:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Since that time, there have been creative extensions that include rethinking and refusing.  What do these words really mean?   Why are they in a particular order?   They are a hierarchy to represent what provides the greatest benefit:  benefit to your pocketbook, benefit to the environment. 

Choosing Products for Sustainability

Reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and refuse

The ten questions on choosing products for sustainability, help guide thoughtful purchasing decisions.  The first question, Do I really need the product?  can result in thought-provoking alternatives such as sharing or borrowing, inventive solutions as well as more thoughtful and reduced consumption.

  1.   Do I really need the product?       
  2.   Is the product safe to use?
  3.   Is it practical, durable, of good quality with a timeless design?
  4.   Is the product made from renewable or recycled materials taken in a sustainable way?
  5.   Are the manufacturing practices moving towards sustainability? 
  6.   How will I dispose of the product and with what impacts? 
  7.   What kind of package does the product have?
  8.   How far has the product been shipped to reach the retail outlet?
  9.   Is the product a good value for the money?
  10. Is there some environmental, health, personal, or economic benefit that outweighs the product’s environmental costs?

– from Debra Dadd-Redalia, Sustaining the Earth


  • Share and borrow items
  • Give experiences as gifts and rethink favors at events
  • ASK: How do we re-think systems to avoid needless/wasteful consumption


  • Avoid freebies at events which collect dust in your closet
  • Say no to plastic – use cloth bags, reusable bottles and to-go containers

Reduce – Buy Less Stuff

  • Avoid packaging whenever you can.
  • Take reusable bags and produce bags.
  • Use reusable containers and take your mug.
  • When something breaks, see if you can get it fixed. Bring it to a local repair fair
  • Reduce use of single use paper; use cloth napkins, rags, and washclothes


  • Shop at secondhand stores.
  • Subscribe to the Bold Reuse container services. Find Bold Reuse containers at New Seasons for use at the deli, bulk containers and olive bar. Many Portland area restaurants use Bold Reuse containers for to-go use.
  • Reuse wrapping paper or create your own from brown paper bags or newspapers.
  • When you have an item you no longer need, find someone who can use it on the Trash Nothing (free) website or donate it.
  • When you need something on an occasional basis, check if it is available in the Lake Oswego Library of Things, or see if you can borrow it from a friend or neighbor

Recycle Wisely

If you use curbside recycling, verify that your items are on the Clackamas County curbside recycling list before putting them in the recycling bin. 

If you have questions 

  • Call Metro’s Recycling Information Hotline at 503-234-3000   
  • Email Clackamas County at

 How effective is recycling for the materials we commonly recycle?

  • Metals – recycling metals is very effective. For example, an aluminum can is almost infinitely recyclable and it is less energy intensive than making new cans. Manufacturing a new can is so energy intensive that a recycled aluminum can has a 95 percent smaller carbon footprint than making that same can from virgin aluminum.
  • Glass – most glass (bottles and jars) can be recycled again and again.
  • Paper – paper recycling is valuable and saves lots of emissions and trees. However, the effectiveness is limited by the number of times it can be recycled without degradation.
  • Plastics are the most problematic because there are so many types which are not recyclable. The key to sustainability is to avoid plastic whenever you can.

Frequently Asked Questions About Recycling in Lake Oswego

By Jim Newcomer, LOSN Materials Management Team

Amanda Watson manages the city’s sustainability program, and that includes managing responsibly the waste the city and its people generate. To get answers to some of the recycling questions we all face weekly, we sent her a couple of questions, and she provided answers that we can all use.

For citizens who mean well and intend to recycle as much as we can, it can be daunting to remember exactly what is recyclable. And when we look at a plastic object, we may want to recycle it even though the chart on the refrigerator doesn’t mention it.

To find out, many people call Amanda.

Answering those calls is not a simple job.

I was curious about what people want to know from the city coordinator who supervises all the collection choices. I asked her in advance of sitting down in person: what are the most frequently asked questions about recycling?

She wrote back:

What do I do with….?

Many of the questions I get about recycling and disposal are from people wanting to know how to responsibly get rid of more unusual or infrequently disposed of household items, everything from fluorescent light tubes to large amounts of cardboard to old office supplies.

People are always welcome to call me with questions, but the best first place to look would be Metro’s online Find A Recycler website. Just put in your address and what you are looking to dispose of, and you will get a list of locations sorted by distance to you for reuse, recycling, and/or disposal of those items. Metro also has a fully-staffed recycling hotline that people can call with questions: 503-234-3000.

Questions about recycling plastic

In the Metro region, whether or not plastic is recyclable depends on the shape and size of the item, not on the recycling symbol or number it may be labeled with. All plastic bottles, jugs, round containers and buckets between 6 oz – 5 gallons, and nursery plant containers 4 in wide and larger are recyclable. Caps and lids must be removed and put in the trash as they are too small to be sorted by the recycling machines.

This means that things like square plastic containers for berries and salad greens (“clamshells”) are not recyclable curbside. These need to go in the garbage, or they can be disposed of at New Seasons stores.

Unfortunately we do see people putting non-recyclable types of plastic into their curbside recycling bins hoping they are recyclable. While I understand the wish that more materials could get recycled, this “wishcycling” creates contamination which is costly for recycling facilities to sort out.

Plastic items that can be recycled in Lake Oswego

What do I do with old batteries?

As of 2023, residents of single-family homes in Clackamas County can recycle batteries curbside. Follow the preparation instructions in the graphic below.

Batteries are considered hazardous waste, and pose safety issues when they are improperly disposed of. If you don’t live in a single-family home, you will need to take your used batteries to the Metro south hazardous waste facility (disposal is free for household amounts) or a retail business in the area that accepts batteries for recycling (check Find a Recycler!).

When we met in person, she shared that we can expect some major changes in the coming year. In 2021 the Oregon Legislature passed the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act, which is designed to ensure that plastics get recycled and that the companies that produce them pay to make it happen. When the law takes effect in 2025, she said, we can expect a simpler set of packaging materials, and we will be able to recycle most of them.

Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act

For too long the manufacturers of plastics have evaded their responsibility for the piles of discarded plastics that plague the world in so many ways. But that era is coming to an end soon.

Back in 2021, Oregon’s legislature passed Senate Bill 582, the Recycling Modernization Act. It created a method to implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the recyclability of packaging materials sold in Oregon. At that time, Oregon was only one of two states to enact a law of this kind, with Maine having been the first. 

The Act directed the DEQ to establish a Recycling System Advisory Council, comprised of representatives from local governments, community-based organizations representing historically underserved groups, small businesses, the recycling industry, processors or material end users, and producers of the products specified in the act. The Council has been hard at work writing the rules that will make this Act a reality. The Council is responsible for the initial development and implementation phase of the Act and will remain in place in perpetuity. 

To fund this new state-wide system, producers of items covered by this new law will pay an annual fee to join a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) no later than July 1, 2025.  The PRO will ensure that these producers:

  1. Sell in our state only material specified in the act that can be recycled responsibly and transparently.
  2. Fund a commodity risk fee to make money available to recycling processing facilities to stabilize the cost of recycling.
  3. Develop resources for residents to properly prepare materials for recycling.

Here are a few answers to common questions about the new law:

What does this mean for the citizens of Oregon?
One key objective of this Act is to provide seamless recycling programs across the entire state of Oregon for most types of packaging and food service ware, with a focus on plastics.  If you can recycle an item in the Portland Metro Area, it will also be recyclable in every other community of Oregon as well, although the method by which a specific item is collected for recycling may differ.  

What is on the new, expanded statewide list of recyclables?
The Uniform Statewide Collection List (USCL) has grown from what materials had been recyclable prior to this law.  The current list as of January 2024 is available online and linked here

Here are a few materials that are new to the list:

  • Paper or plastic plates
  • Styrofoam Clamshells intended for single use, such as take-out containers
  • Tissue paper (packaging, not facial or sanitary)
  • Paperback books (hardback books are excluded)
  • Polyethylene film
  • Blocks of white expanded polystyrene

By July 1, 2025, the items on the USCL will be collected statewide for recycling.

I live in a multi-family community.  How does this law increase my access to recycling?
The implementation of this law in multi-family communities begins with a needs assessment by Oregon DEQ, which is due in September of 2024, followed by a two-year period of planning and technical assistance.  The new requirements for multifamily housing will take effect on July 1, 2026.  In addition the law will require DEQ to complete a new needs assessment every 4 years to ensure effective and equitable opportunities for their tenants or condo owners to recycle moving forward.

Will my garbage and recycling rates increase because of this new law?
The short answer is no.  The intent of the law is for the producers of the packaging, printed paper, and food service ware to pay for improvements to the current recycling infrastructure.  Research performed across Canada between markets with and without EPR rules found no correlation between product pricing and the presence of EPR requirements.

How can I learn more about this law?
The Oregon DEQ website has a page specifically regarding the implementation of the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act with lots of information including short videos and a monthly newsletter. The link is provided below, along with several others on this topic.


Department of Environmental Quality : Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act : Recycling : State of Oregon

Department of Environmental Quality : Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council : Recycling : State of Oregon

recRMAImpTimeline.pdf (

rscRRSconsumer.pdf (