Water Your Street Trees!

A tree for climbing
Photo by John Hayes Photography.

It’s that time of year again when GM harangues you about caring for our precious street trees. So here is goes:

Water your street trees!

It’s still early in the spring, and trees are only starting to leaf out, so you do not need to start watering street trees immediately. But it will become necessary sooner than you think. So if you have a young tree on the sidewalk in front of your house or apartment, please, please keep it in mind this summer and water it. The basic goal you should have is to water young trees at least once a week, so long as you get a good 20-25 gallons of water.

The preferred watering device is the ooze tube (the bags that go around the bottom of the trees). You can differentiate them from the not-preferred gator bags because the gator bags have zippers. (They’re not preferred because they can create an unhealthy environment around the trunk and you have to remove them after each use.) With the ooze tube you can just fill it up and let it go.

If you don’t have an ooze tube, you can just leave a hose trickling into the tree box for 30 minutes to an hour. This may pose a problem to those without a front mounted water spigot. Thus neighbors ought to work together to identify what houses do have front facing hoses and spread the water around. Remember, everyone benefits from healthy trees.

Once a tree is mature, you can stop watering it. By then the roots are so spread out under the sidewalk that it doesn’t need your help anymore (although during any particularly dry periods, it can’t hurt to water it). At what point does a tree become “mature”? That depends on the tree. It’s better safe than sorry so you might as well do it for the first eight years or so.


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