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Watering young trees in hot weather

Author:  Arboricultural Association
  24/06/2024
Last Updated:  24/06/2024

Watering young trees in hot weather

Leading tree care organisations are encouraging communities to do their bit and help newly planted trees survive the increasingly dry summer months.

Watering Campaign

According to UN scientists 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded globally. The most recent large-scale study showed that 30 percent of newly planted street trees die within the first years of planting. Young trees need water to survive, and these increasingly long periods of extreme heat and a general lack of resources make it difficult for planting projects to put effective aftercare and watering plans in place.

You can help young trees thrive into the future by watering young trees near you over the summer months.

More than 1000 tree species are flagged as at risk due to climate change, including city dwelling oaks, maples, poplars and chestnuts. Established mature trees are able to find their own water. It is recommended that newly planted trees are given 50 litres of water per week during the summer months, for the first three years after planting.

Planting a tree is just the start of the story and now a coalition of organisations is campaigning to make sure that tree planting efforts don’t go to waste and to ensure that aftercare plans are in place.

The Arboricultural Association and local authority tree officer associations launched the campaign to engage the public in connecting with their trees and understanding the importance of tree aftercare and arboricultural knowledge.

Now, the young tree watering campaign is backed by key organisations from across the environmental sector. Including the Woodland Trust, who are supporting the initiative to highlight the need for essential young tree aftercare; giving the millions of trees planted a better chance of surviving into maturity.

Tree watering champions have risen to the call across the UK using free packs of tags or downloadable posters and tags to fix to their local trees. Watering tags have been translated into 5 different languages and many local authorities also use them to encourage residents to do what they can to water young trees nearby.

This year the campaign will expand with supporters able to add their own groups on the UK Tree Watering map to encourage others to join, share posts and updates.

Around the world there are efforts to plant millions of trees to help tackle the climate crisis, but the health and survival of urban trees is threatened by increasingly dry weather. Without proper aftercare they will not survive to provide full environmental benefits. Trees are part of the solution, and watering young trees is an investment for a greener future.

Arboricultural Association Chief Executive Officer John Parker said:

“We’re so happy to see the watering campaign grow and how many organisations are now getting behind it. If tree planting schemes are going to be successful then we also need far greater awareness of arboriculture, and of tree care professionals.”

Urban Project Officer Caroline Campbell said:

"Trees give us so much, from clean air to cooler streets, and we need to give something back and help them thrive and grow into the strong, carbon-fighting giants of tomorrow.

“Planting trees is just the start. Without water, young trees can't survive a heatwave, making our efforts fruitless - a tree without water is like a lung without air.

“The Water Your Trees campaign is a lovely way to get children involved with nature – why not make it part of your daily routine to water the trees in your street together? It’s fun and can really rally a community spirit.

“Join the campaign, help make every area greener and healthier, and make a direct impact today."

See how you can help young trees survive: trees.org.uk/watering