19 June 2020

Give your thirsty street trees a drink

| My Gungahlin
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With ongoing hot and dry weather across the region, the ACT Government is asking local residents to help look after Canberra’s fantastic street trees.

The ACT Government is conducting its summer tree watering program for about 18,000 young trees on nature strips and in parks. These trees are watered once a month but would benefit from an extra drink where possible.

“While we are doing our best to ensure Canberra’s trees remain healthy; any help from the community in terms of watering is always appreciated and very beneficial, especially during the hot and dry conditions forecast over the next few days,” Urban Treescapes Manager, Rachael Dawes, said.

“Watering our public trees is a great way to help the broader community as everybody benefits from our urban forest. Trees can improve the market value of your home and suburb, they reduce energy bills by providing cooling shade in summer and wind reduction in winter. Trees also purify the air we breathe and reduce stormwater runoff and erosion.

“On top of this trees also beautify our city and bring in birds and local wildlife, which is a major part of what makes Canberra such a great place to live.

“A little help from the community will make a significant difference when keeping trees happy and healthy over the hot, dry Canberra summer. The effect of hot and dry conditions is cumulative as the soil can stay very dry from the weather conditions over the last few months.

“An eight litre bucket of water once a week could provide enough supplementary water for young trees during dry periods. A larger tree of over five metres may require several buckets once a week, during the cool of the morning or evening. The water should be applied slowly under the tree close to the trunk.

“We especially ask people to look for stressed or struggling trees. There are a few signs that your neighbourhood tree is in trouble including dead branches in the canopy, sparse leaf cover, deep bark cracking and curling, browning or drooping leaves.

“We do remind anyone who wants to join in to use non-potable water. Second class water such as shower or bath water is suitable for watering plants.

“The ACT Government manages one of the largest urban forests in Australia. TCCS are responsible for more than 760,000 trees on public land in residential streets, major road verges, urban parks and other open spaces throughout the city.

“With the drier weather over the colder months we decided to start our tree watering program a little earlier than normal to give our younger trees the best possible chance.

“The tree watering program will see approximately 18,000 developing trees in streets and parks watered over the coming months using non-potable sourced water from Canberra’s urban lakes, with trees under three years of age in non-irrigated areas to be watered monthly until April 2019.”

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