Water the boulevard trees and help maintain the urban forest

According to the National Weather Service, a significant part of east central Minnesota, including most of the metro area is suffering from severe drought. May was the driest month on record and June did not produce enough rainfall, so the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) Forestry Division is encouraging residents to water their young trees, especially those planted on boulevards.

This spring the MPRB’s Forestry Division planted more than 4,000 trees citywide to replace trees that have been lost due to storms, Dutch elm disease and other causes. Forestry crews have watered each of these trees twice in June and place four to six inches of wood chips at the base of each tree. After this initial care, watering new boulevard trees becomes the responsibility of the property owner. To maintain a healthy new tree, they should be watered once or twice a week. Watering is not required during any week that rainfall levels reach one inch or more.

The best way to water a new tree is to use a garden hose with the water turned on at a slow rate for two hours. Let the water soak into the ground to a depth of 18 inches. This is where 90 percent of a tree’s roots grow. If a garden hose is not available, 20 gallons of water will properly soak a new tree. Try to water the same amount at each watering.

Maintain a 4-inch layer of mulch, such as wood chips, around a new tree. Young or newly planted trees should have a two-foot radius of mulch placed a few inches away from the trunk. The MPRB Forestry Division provides woodchips at sites throughout Minneapolis. To find a woodchip distribution site check the website at www.minneapolisparks.org or call 612-370-4900.

For more information on MPRBs commitment to the Urban Forest, visit www.minneapolisparks.org Caring for Trees Urban Forest.

July 9, 2009

Published Jul. 9, 2009