From the Urban Forestry Commission: Richmond’s Young Trees Need Help Getting Through the Summer RICHMOND, Virginia – July 29, 2010 Urban Forestry Commission With this summer’s heat and drought taking hold, all Richmonders could use some relief, but none so much as our newly planted street trees. Richmond’s newly-formed Urban Forestry Commission is concerned about […]
From the Urban Forestry Commission:
Richmond’s Young Trees Need Help Getting Through the Summer
RICHMOND, Virginia – July 29, 2010 Urban Forestry Commission
With this summer’s heat and drought taking hold, all Richmonders could use some relief, but none so much as our newly planted street trees. Richmond’s newly-formed Urban Forestry Commission is concerned about the condition of thousands of street and park trees planted in recent years to replace trees lost during and after Hurricane Isabel. Those trees are in jeopardy because Richmond has had long periods of no significant rainfall compounded by extreme heat.
Newly planted trees are particularly vulnerable to drought stress because their root systems have not had a chance to become fully established in the landscape. “They come from a comfortable nursery environment with good soil and irrigation. Most of their roots are chopped off in preparation for transplant and the trees must re-grow those roots in the new location.” says Karen Townsend, an Urban Forestry Commission member and City resident. Many of the City’s newly planted trees may die if left alone to contend with a continuing drought.
“Regular watering will make a tremendous difference to these young trees and we are asking City residents to take on this task where ever possible,” says Townsend. “Stretch a hose or carry a couple bucketfuls of water from your house to any nearby trees.” Trees should be watered once or twice a week if there is no rainfall. Water the entire rootball with about 5-10 gallons, pouring slowly enough so as to ensure that the water soaks into the soil rather than running off.
Treegator® slow-release watering bags are zipped around the trunks of some trees. These green bags release 20 gallons of water over a 5 to 9 hour period and should be refilled at least once a week. Use either a hose or watering can to pour water in the opening under the colored tag at the top of the bag. With the bag 1⁄4 full, lift up gently on the top handles to properly position the bottom of the bag over the rootball, and then fill to capacity.
Planting and caring for young trees is an investment that pays great dividends in the future. Richmond’s street trees make the City not only beautiful, but also more livable. As Townsend points out, “Given the option of two park benches on a 90-degree summer day…one in the open sun and one under the canopy of a mature tree…there no question where I’d be.”
Tarisa Moran, Secretary to the Urban Forestry Commission 804-646-6308 tarisa.moran at richmondgov.com
Karen Townsend, Urban Forestry Commission Member Telephone: 804-357-4292 ktownsend at enrichmond.org