Appeal to residents to help city's young trees survive the hot weather

Cambridge City Council's picture

News release from 4 July 2018, 9:50am

AN APPEAL has been made to residents to help water new and young trees on their street that may suffer in the hot, dry summer months.

Cambridge City Council plants around 250 new trees every year to replace those lost to old age and for their first three years, newly planted trees need extra care and attention to help them become established.

Keeping them well watered is critical as they settle in to their new surroundings and while the council waters new trees regularly, residents are being asked to help out during the hot, dry summer weeks.

Anyone who spots a new tree on their street can help by watering the young tree or sapling with a watering can or a bowl of used washing-up or bath water.

In return, the trees will provide clean air to breathe and homes for birds and other creatures. They help to cool urban areas and combat the ill-effects of climate change for future generations.

Top tips for watering new or young trees during the growing season (from now until September) are:

  • Give the tree one big drink each week or more frequently during very hot and dry weather;
  • 20 litres of water is ideal but any water will be welcome;
  • Tap water, rain water or even dishwater is fine. Please make sure no chemicals stronger than washing-up liquid are in the mix;
  • If there is a green watering bag around a young tree, fill it through the slot at the top (possibly hidden under the label). If it is easier, just slowly pour the water over the roots, letting the water soak deep into the soil;
  • Ask your neighbours to get involved, especially if you are planning on going on holiday over the summer;
  • The best time to water is either in the morning or at night. Try to avoid the hottest part of the day, although water anytime is better than no water at all.

People are also encouraged to share their tree watering efforts on social media using the hashtag #CamTrees

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “While the warm, sunny weather is enjoyable for many of us, it can be tough for young trees.

"Trees add to the beauty of our city and we know how important they are for health, environmental and other reasons. That is why our tree strategy focuses on adding resilience to Cambridge’s urban forest and planting new trees.

“We have a tree watering plan in place but with the very warm weather set to continue and the prospect of a hot summer ahead our trees will welcome an extra drink.

“All help from residents to water new or young trees on their street would be very welcome as it is in everyone’s interest to make sure these trees make it through the summer and beyond in good health.”

The council’s tree strategy aims to boost and protect the estimated 240,000 trees in the city by managing existing trees, including heritage and veteran examples, and to enhance new tree planting.

Among the benefits of trees in an urban environment are:

  • Providing shelter, habitats for wildlife, and a link to nature even in the most urban settings;
  • Playing a role in countering some of the effects of climate change, for example by reducing the build-up of temperatures and helping to reduce the risk of flooding;
  • Providing an enhanced sense of well-being for people, according to several studies.
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