Trees need an inch of water every week

While a rainy late spring overcame the last nine years of drought, our yard and boulevard trees still need an inch of water every week throughout the summer and fall. Extremely dry conditions followed the June 21 storm that drenched the city and caused significant damage, and now heat and lack of precipitation are causing stress on the City's urban forest. Lack of water can make trees vulnerable to insects and disease and cause permanent damage to young and old trees alike. Trees up to five years old are especially susceptible. In any week that it rains less than one inch, yard and boulevard trees need to be watered. The Park Board plants and mulches boulevard trees but relies on residents or businesses nearby to water them.

An effective way to water a tree is to turn on a slow stream of water (just so the hose is weeping) for a few hours. Watering in the evening after dinner time is most effective since it minimizes evaporation, and trees tend to take most of their water during the night. Watering one tree weekly for the warmer months costs only about $3 for the entire season. For people who lose track of when they last watered a tree, a good system could be watering it on the same day trash is picked up.

Residents and other property owners near a small boulevard tree (up to four inches in diameter) can place a request through Aug. 2 for a watering bag on the tree. The Park Board will install the bag, and the resident fills it up with water once a week – any week it doesn’t rain an inch. A tree watering bag holds 20 gallons of water and slowly releases it over a few hours. The Park Board will remove the bag this fall. Requesting a bag and filling it up once a week is a great way to keep a young tree healthy. For information on tree care and the urban forest or for a tree watering bag request form, call the Park Board’s Forestry Department at 612-313-7710, email [email protected]or visit

If you hire a tree servicing company to prune a tree in your yard, make sure to use a company licensed in Minneapolis to ensure that the tree gets the right care. For more information and a list of licensed tree servicers, visit

Taking care of our trees means protecting our Minneapolis quality of life. Research proves that healthy trees are beautiful, increase property values, help improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide, save energy, keep the city cooler, provide homes for wildlife and help manage stormwater.

Published Jul 17, 2013



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