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City of Hamilton wants you to help water its trees

We're in a drought, the city says, and the trees are thirsty. It wants residents to pitch in and help, especially with new saplings planted to replace ash trees.

We're in a drought, the city says, and the trees are thirsty

The city wants residents to help water public trees to keep them healthy during the hot, dry weather. That especially applies to saplings planted to replace ash trees. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

How hot is it?

It's so hot that the city is asking you to pitch in to help keep its trees alive — especially newly planted replacements for ash trees.

Any help people can give the trees is much appreciated.- Terry Whitehead, Ward 8 councillor and public works committee chair

The city of Hamilton issued a notice Wednesday asking residents to consider watering trees around their properties, not just on them. That means city trees on road allowances, and other publicly owned trees nearby.

The reason? With the recent heat wave and lack of rainfall, the city is worried about the health of its thirsty trees, which need more help than usual.

"Any help people can give the trees is much appreciated," said Terry Whitehead, Ward 8 councillor, at city council's public works committee Thursday. Whitehead chairs the committee.

"Periods of prolonged dry heat and absence of rainfall is challenging the health of many recently planted trees across the community," Whitehead also said in the media release.

He particularly worries about new saplings the city planted to replace ash trees. The emerald ash borer is decimating the local ash population, so the city is chopping down its ash trees.

Trees grow during long periods of drought, the city said in its notice. But insufficient water weakens them and makes them more susceptible to insects and disease.

Trees thrive with two to three centimetres of rain every seven to 10 days.

Here's how to water a city tree:

  • Without rain, young trees benefit from 40 litres of water around the base of the tree (one square metre).
  • Larger trees need a slow soaking one or two times a month, from the trunk to just beyond the dip line. This way, the water penetrates down 10 to 12 inches. This applies to deciduous and coniferous trees.

The signs of insufficient water are as follows:

  • Browning of leaves and veins.
  • Wilting leaves.
  • Premature dropping of leaves.
  • Coniferous trees will turn yellowish or reddish-purple.

The city is also reminding people about water restrictions.

Even-numbered homes can water lawns and gardens on even numbered days. Odd-numbered homes water on odd-numbered days.

For residents without a municipal address, those on the west or north side of the street can water on odd-numbered days.

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