Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gaging Your Trees' Need for Water

There's a gentle rain falling outside my window right now. My rainbarrels are filling up fast, and I'm hoping the sunflower seeds that we planted over the weekend are getting really well soaked out there. The birds seem ecstatic, and are flying from branch to branch while chattering to one another.

Like the birds, I love a spring rain storm, especially after a dry week like the one we've just had. Everything looks so refreshed, and I always sleep best on the nights when there's a steady rain hitting the roof.

It is also nice for the garden and trees. Its been really dry, and I know any tree or shrub planted in the last three years or so really needs water. Remembering to water can be a problem, though, for both me and my garden clients.

Enter Casey Trees, a great organization here in DC dedicated to returning our metro area to the Tree City it used to be long ago. Over the weekend they posted a really great Facebook notice: It is dry, they warned, time to water your trees.

"Young and mature trees require 25 gallons of water - approximately 1.5 inches of rainfall - per week to grow healthy and strong. In times of little or no rainfall, and especially during the hot summer months, trees need your help in getting the recommended 25 gallons of water per week," says their notice.

Rather than just scold or warn, though, the Casey Tree people promise that if you pledge to water your trees they will send you automatic reminders when the conditions get dry in DC. Pretty cool, and you can even get a free rain gauge in the process. All you have to do is sign up on their website.

The people at Casey Trees also have a reason to be very proud this season, by the way. According to their latest press release, also posted on Facebook, the organization has planted 406 new trees at 23 tree planting events this spring through its Community Tree Planting Program. Those trees were added in all 8 Wards of DC and planted with the help of almost 700 adult and 400 children volunteers.

The organization estimates the value of the donated labor exceeds $63,000. What they don't say, but I know to be a fact, is that the value of those trees over time will far exceed that dollar amount. The amount of evapotranspiration which will cool the air of the city, the pollution reduction, the carbon sequestration and the stormwater filtration --- all the things provided by those living resources would be almost impossible to measure.

But to function and provide those services, trees need to be growing strong. Thus the importance of reminding everyone to water.

No comments: