Acually it's been a mild summer here in Southern California (Anaheim) up until I made my first post, since then I've been watering regularly but in past years of its life it hasn't had a problem with the occasional lapses in watering. All vegetation, except for a patch of grass in front of the tree, which has southern exposure and the most sun, has been doing well. No gophers or other varmints noticed. I cut back on one of the branches and no stain...there was even a then layer of green right below the surface. The funny thing is that barely any of the leaves have fallen off and their color is a reddish brown, almost like some fall leaves get, although this is not a deciduous tree. Will look great around Halloween and I might trim it after that. Still a 1/4 of the branches have green leaves.