British Columbia·Photos

Vancouver residents asked to help water young trees

Vancouver's arborists are asking residents to help quench the thirst of thousands of young, thirsty trees this summer.

Arborists say 'water me' signs indicate which trees need to be hydrated every couple of days

Craig Pagens, an urban tree waterer, uses a steel watering probe to deliver hydration deep into the ground, closer to this tree's root bulb and also to fill the tree bag wrapped around its base. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Vancouver's arborists are asking residents to help quench the thirst of thousands of young, thirsty trees this summer.

Anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 tree bags will be installed this summer by the Vancouver Park Board to keep new trees hydrated. But those taking care of the city's green canopy say they could still use your help.

"We can't water and keep all the trees healthy completely on our own, said Craig Pagens, an urban tree waterer with the city. "We really do rely on residents helping us out."

The recyclable, vinyl tree bags are filled with water and wrapped around the base of young trees. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Pagens told The Early Edition's Margaret Gallagher there are about 4,000 young trees in the city and he and his colleagues personally tend to each tree about once every two weeks.

But if a "water me" tag is attached to a tree, he hopes residents will either fill up the water bag or leave a hose on a slow trickle by the tree's base once every couple of days.

"It makes a huge difference for us, especially when we get long times when it's extremely hot and dry," he said.

The City of Vancouver hopes residents who see signs like this one will lend them a hand to keep young trees alive in the summer heat. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

The recyclable, vinyl tree bags are designed to be filled from the top with a hose or a watering can.

"The idea is that the water will infiltrate slowly into the ground in hopes that we'll encourage the roots to grow down instead of out. It helps the trees, in future, to become a little more drought tolerant," said arborist Amit Gandha.

"It's almost like a jacket — you wrap it around the tree and you zip it up."

Each filled bag can keep a tree hydrated for about 11 hours.

Residents can ask for water bags from the city if there are new trees in the area and they are interested in taking up watering responsibilities.

Craig Pagens and Amit Gandha maintain the health of trees planted by the City of Vancouver. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition and Margaret Gallagher.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Using water bags for young trees in Vancouver