After a dry April and May, there is speculation that June could also be the driest on record and a campaign has been launched to encourage regular watering of newly-planted trees over the summer months to help them become established and survive to maturity.
The dry weather which much of the UK experienced during April raised the question of how trees might be affected by COVID-19 if those people who usually water them are no longer able to do so.
The Arboricultural Association has worked with three organisations representing tree officers across the country to develop an information poster and watering tags which can be printed at home and fixed to tree stakes or tied to the tree. www.trees.org.uk/watering
If you have a tree outside your house, or one that you pass on your daily walk, then you can help. Requirements vary depending on a number of factors such as species and location, but a general rule is that they should receive at least 50 litres (5 large buckets) of water per week in May, June, July and August.
Could you adopt a tree near you?
The main points are:
- Watering should ideally be carried out in the early morning or evening.
- It is good practice to water trees for the first three years after planting.
- If the tree has a watering pipe, then half the water should be poured down the pipe and the other half around the tree. If the tree has a watering bag, then fill that.
- Where possible, water should be sustainably sourced. Harvested rainwater is ideal, but bath water or water that has been used for washing up can also be used.
A good soak once a week is better than watering trees with small amounts daily, which encourages roots near to the surface; those roots can be scorched and die during long periods of hot weather. That said, any water is better than none.