From the 1st May a campaign has been started to water trees near you if at all possible. The Arboricultural Association, London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) have launched this campaign to ensure that newly planted trees are watered regularly over the summer months, highlighting the fact that young tree maintenance is just as important as planting.
Julie Bolton from West Sussex CC wrote in her email to tree wardens:
April was the sunniest since records began – and very pleasant it was too but pretty stressful for trees, especially recently planted ones just as they are using lots of energy reserves to flower or come into leaf.
The recent spell of rain will have helped, but there will no doubt be drier periods to come, so I’m hoping you can help.
If you know of a recently planted tree in your patch, regardless of where it is, please try to encourage someone nearby to water it regularly when it looks as though we’ll be entering a drier period. This could be the nearest resident to a tree planted in the highway verge (I’ll be sending details of where these are to the relevant tree wardens) or perhaps you can remind your parish council (or equivalent) to water any trees planted on their land this last winter. Formal parks and other recreation areas are likely to be covered by the relevant district or borough council. The closer the person is to the tree the better as water is heavy to carry and I know we don’t all have big containers.
Adur & Worthing Council is kindly watering new highway trees for us.
You’ll see below the AA has just launched a watering campaign with posters and tags that can be downloaded. I’ve also attached these in case you are able to print some off, even black and white would do. I know not everyone can print things or is willing to so perhaps your parish council can do this for you. Ideally the tags would be laminated but that’s probably too much of an ask at this time! I would do this if I could and send them to you on request but it’s not possible just now.
Watering encourages roots to develop near the surface which are then vulnerable to drying out if the watering stops, so once started, it has to continue regularly, or as long as the dry spell lasts – ideally watering once a week and saturating the ground. What really helps is weeding and mulching. Weeding, including grass removal, means that the water will benefit just the tree and mulching helps retain moisture instead of it evaporating. Be careful not to ‘volcano’ a tree with mulch, i.e. piling it up against the stem – there should always be a gap around the stem.
Grey water can be used – more info here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=313
RHS: Watering is under ‘routine maintenance’ https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=170
Woodland Trust: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/care/
Any help you can give is very much appreciated. If you do decide to do some watering yourself, please do so safely, especially with restrictions and social distancing still in force.
You can see more about this Campaign at the AA website HERE. So if there is anything you can do to help, even if it is just printing off the posters please do so.
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