Climate Action: Water Your Street Trees

POSTED ON June 15, 2023 BY James Garry

The health and survival of new urban trees is threatened by increasingly dry weather

Rising temperatures and dry spells are leading to an increasing loss of new street trees, but the nation can do its bit, urge tree groups.

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 year on record and the UK’s total rainfall fell persistently below average for the year, creating challenging conditions for newly planted and younger trees to thrive.

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.

Steph Mullen has set up a watering group in Sheffield as part of her work with Kids Plant Trees. She said: “Helping trees to thrive is one of the most rewarding things you can do – and kids love trees so it’s a brilliant way to build a connection with nature. Not everyone has a garden or easy access to wild spaces, but watering street trees is something that everyone can do. Every tree supports a range of wildlife, so whether it’s one tree or many, it’s great to do something practical that really makes a difference.”

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