Dad and daughter watering young tree

As the UK faces record-breaking temperatures and droughts, new street trees are at risk of dying, but you can make a difference by watering them with recycled or grey water, say tree experts.

The Arboricultural Association is joining forces with the Woodland Trust and local authority tree officer associations to rally the UK public to water their new street trees using recycled rainwater or grey water, such as washing up water.

According to the Met Office 2022 was the warmest on record and the UK’s total rainfall persistently below average for the year creating challenging conditions for newly planted and younger trees to thrive.

Catherine Nuttgens, head of the Woodland Trust’s urban tree programme, explained: “Trees are crucial to our well being by cooling our towns and cities and improving air quality so we need to not only plant more but look after those we already have.

“While in rural settings newly planted saplings and woods can take care of themselves and adapt, the challenging conditions presented by living in the built environment means trees in our streets and urban areas need a bit more TLC . It’s a fun job to do with the kids or make it a post tea time routine to water the trees.

“It can rally community spirit too if estates or streets club together.”

John Parker, chief executive of the Arboricultural Association said: “Planting a tree is just the start of the story. The health and survival of new urban trees is threatened by increasingly dry weather. It is recommended that newly planted trees are given 50 litres of water per week during the summer months, for the first three years. You can help ensure healthy trees for the future over the summer months by watering trees near you.”

Since setting up the annual watering campaign in 2020, the Arboricultural Association has brought on board an ever expanding list of groups to take up the challenge.

By Ed

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