Treat trees to a summer drink

Image: Trees for Streets

A charity is asking people to give their local trees a weekly drink this summer.

Trees for Streets is a UK tree sponsorship scheme, which helps residents work with their councils to plant more urban trees. Its Watering Wednesday campaign encourages residents to water the trees in their street, particularly younger saplings that might be wilting in the summer heat.

According to Trees for Streets, a tree that is seven to 10 years old needs at least 50 litres of water every week to thrive – even more in a dry summer. That is five standard watering cans’ worth. The good news is, trees are not fussy about where the water comes from - washing-up, bath and shower water are all fine to use.

The charity says hundreds of people are already stepping up to water on a Wednesday – or whatever day of the week works for them - with some residents setting up rotas and allocating individual trees to specific families.

"Planting a tree in your street can be a powerful first step in a journey to strengthen your community and how you connect with the world.”

Simeon Linstead, Start Local
Image: Trees for Streets

There are many benefits to having healthy trees in your neighbourhood. They support wildlife, create cooler areas during hot weather, soak up excess water during periods of heavy rain, produce oxygen and remove pollutants from the air. It is also proven that spending time around trees is great for mental health.

Simeon Linstead, chief executive of Start Local, a social enterprise which supports Trees for Streets said, “Trees for Streets empowers residents to work with their local councils to make a difference to the world immediately outside their front door. Planting a tree in your street can be a powerful first step in a journey to strengthen your community and how you connect with the world.”

Alongside Watering Wednesdays, Trees for Streets runs a tree sponsorship programme, which enables residents to sponsor new tree planting in their streets and parks. The team works with local authorities who have prioritised urban and suburban trees planting, meaning residents have a direct say in the location of new trees.

The latest partnership is with Worthing Borough Council, West Sussex. Councillor Vicki Wells said: “Through this partnership, local people have a chance to foster a part of nature and help support a greener future for Worthing. I’m looking forward to hearing stories of collaboration between neighbours, communities and businesses - and to see the first trees begin to be planted.”

Here are some watering tips from Trees for Streets:

You can use water from your washing up, baths and showers to water trees. An easy way to get started is to keep the water from your washing up bowl, and use that to water your tree – no special equipment necessary.

Some street trees are fitted with watering tubes when they are planted, which help guide the water straight down to the roots. Pour half of the water down the pipe and the other half on ground around the tree trunk. If the tree has a watering bag, simply fill that.

It is best to water in the early morning or evening when it is a bit cooler, so the tree can absorb as much of the water as possible before it evaporates in the sunshine.

If watering all in one go, try to do it gradually so the tree has time to soak it up slowly.