Tree Experts Say Help Them With Bathwater

By Gary Cutlack on at

Trees unfortunate enough to have been planted in urban areas could do with our help, with tree enthusiasts saying we should assist our councils by watering young saplings ourselves with bathwater or grey washing up waste.

It won't kill them, they say, as long as there's not too much bleach diluted in with the fluids. And it really helps too, because the key part of growing plants is not the exciting digging-out process that gets on the news when a local business leader puts in a young oak to symbolise ties with a notionally similarly depressed region of France; it's the boring, endless, thankless watering job that follows over their first months of living that determines whether a tree thrives and survives or not, and this is where municipal wells of enthusiasm often run dry.

But We Can Do It if we get out there in numbers with flasks of bathwater and surreptitiously sprinkle water about new plantings to lessen the stress of dry periods that limit initial growth and stunt trees for life. The councils don't care either way, as planting new trees a few years later when this batch has died is cheaper than paying fluoro lackeys to go out with watering cans until the trees are established enough to cope with our increasingly barren summers themselves.

Tony Kirkham from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew said: "Councils are hoping for rain, and hoping they'll survive, but there are heavy losses when it comes to urban tree planting. The public can dramatically improve their chances of survival. Anything we can do to relieve the stress on our trees is a massive bonus, for both our local authorities and our trees." [Guardian]

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