Monday, November 14, 2005

Please Water our Trees: Roundtable Report

As I reported last week, the mayor's Beautiful City Roundtable made a presentation on street trees which also mentioned ravines. I thought it might be pertinent to the Don so I obtained a copy of the report.

However it talks mainly about street trees and makes only a passing reference to ravines. Janet Rosenberg, the author of the report, makes some valid points about the state of street trees. The need for watering is one that the Task Force has repeatedly made. This applies to new plantings for ravine and street trees. Newly planted trees need a steady amount of water in the first couple of years. If drought conditions occur like they have over the past 4-5 summers then we need to water our trees. If not then we have unsightly rows of dead trees on our streets and clumps of dead sticks in our ravines.

The trees we plant in the valley are done mostly by volunteers. If we let our trees wither and die after the initial planting that can only have a negative effect on our volunteers. They see this when they revisit the planting site. This could have a disheartening effect on their future volunteer activities. Watering is good for both the body (trees) and the mind (volunteers) .


Donwatcher said...

Thanks for pointing that out Kat. I guess I went a little overboard on the watering theme.


Ferdzy said...

But to get back to that tree-watering theme... It's been a problem here in the Kitchener/Waterloo area as well; trees get planted, whether by the municipality or by volunteers, or even by industries (as buffers around their factories), and then, routinely, half of them die. I am sure (lack of) water is the problem. We have a social attitude that lawns get watered and trees don't, which is completely backwards. Grass goes dormant and will revive itself when the rains return. Trees don't: if they don't get water at critical times, they're dead, Jim. I think this simple tree/grass division is an important first step towards getting people to rethink their use of water in the landscape. (And from there, maybe, how they landscape... )

Donwatcher said...

You are so right, Ferdzy. Southern Ontario has been experiencing drought like conditions during the summer for the past five years. Newly planted trees require lots of water. We have been trying to get the city include a watering budget for their tree plantings even if that means planting less trees. However the city is still of the mind to plant and forget.

That's one reason why we created our stewardship program,,
to try and save some of our important sites from drying out. So far it's working but it would be nice to expand to all of our planting sites.