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Tree Watering Campaign

Project type: 
Tree Care and Maintenance

Save the Forest City: Water your trees!

ReForest London launched a tree watering campaign in early August to remind people to water their trees.

We walked down Richmond Row and passed out buckets stencilled with the words “Use me to water a tree” on the side. We talked to business owners about the importance of watering the trees in front of their stores.

Some younger members of ReForest London, children aged 4-6, performed a sketch for store employees and passers-by – complete with tree costumes – to demonstrate the importance of watering trees (see photo below).

Drought conditions pose a greater danger to urban trees and trees planted within the past three years, but all trees should be watered during the summer. Symptoms of drought injury to trees can be sudden or may take up to two years to be revealed. Drought injury symptoms on tree leaves include wilting, curling at the edges, and yellowing. Deciduous leaves may develop scorch, brown outside edges or browning between veins. Evergreen needles may turn yellow, red or purple. They may also turn brown at the tips of the needles and browning may progress through the needle towards the twig. Often, drought stress may not kill a tree outright, but make it vulnerable for more serious secondary insect and disease infestations later.

Tree watering tips

  • Water deeply and slowly once a week. Water a tree deeply to a depth of 12” inches below the soil surface. Water slowly, dispersing the flow of water to get the water down to the trees roots.
  • Methods: Use a hose turned on low, a 5-gallon bucket with tiny holes drilled into the bottom, or a soil needle/deep root feeder. (My Green Garden at Dundas and Rectory carries these.)
  • Saturate the soil around the tree within the “dripline” – the outer edges of the tree’s branches – to disperse water toward the roots. For evergreens, water 3’-5’ beyond the dripline on all sides of the tree.

Tips to Keep your Tree Healthy

  • Mulch around your trees with 4 inches of organic mulch to reduce moisture loss. Use wood chips, shredded bark, leaves or evergreen needles as mulch – avoid the use of stones near trees as this increases moisture loss. Ensure that the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk of the tree.
  • Keep weed trimmers away from the base of the tree. They damage the bark and cause long-term damage.
  • Do not fertilize a tree that is under drought stress. Also, many tree species are harmed by herbicides used in the lawn.
  • Properly prune trees and shrubs during time of drought to remove dead and weakened branches. Leaving broken, dead, insect-infested or diseased branches can further weaken a tree during drought and set the tree up for deadly secondary insect and disease problems.

Follow London ’s watering by-law

If your street address ends with 0,2,4,6, and 8 you may water on EVEN numbered calendar days only. If your street address ends with 1,3,5,7, and 9 you may water on ODD numbered calendar days only.