Step up in watering for Canberra’s stressed street trees

Older trees around town struggling with the recent drought will soon be given some extra care in the lead up to winter with an increase in watering services.

“The Government is stepping up efforts to retain and enhance Canberra’s incredible tree canopy,” Minister for City Services, Chris Steel said.

“Despite recent rain, many trees are still struggling and will require extra care, with hotter and drier conditions expected to be the new norm.”

The ACT Government’s tree watering contractors have been active summer with the watering of more than 22,000 trees under five years old. However, the Government will be stepping up efforts to water trees will now be watered every 4 weeks until the end of Autumn, rather than every 6.

“With the Government planting an additional 17,000 trees, we need to make sure that these survive during their first five years of being planted.

The Government is putting on an additional two watering trucks which will also hydrate 6000 stressed mature trees and remnant native/registered trees that have been identified to be most at risk of not surviving. As well as extra watering services to older street trees, the Government’s tree team will also spread mulch to assist in lowering evaporation and improve water retention within the soil profile.

“Despite good rainfall this month, the ground is often so dry the rain runs straight off the surface and a lot of the moisture never makes it down to the tree roots,” Minister Steel said

Some initial significant areas targeted for additional attention are Eddison Park in Phillip, City Hill, Ainslie Avenue, Limestone Avenue, Telopea Park, Black Mountain Peninsula, Hilltop Reserve in Crace, and the Commonwealth Avenue clover leaf trees north of Albert Hall.

Minister Steel also reiterated calls, made to the community during the drought last year, to look out for trees near their home that may need extra assistance.

“We’re encouraging Canberrans to water any struggling street trees nearby by pouring on a bucket of tank water, or grey water from the shower,” Minister Steel said.

The Government will be stepping up education and compliance on illegal parking under street trees on public land.

“Parking under trees can damage the root system, compacting the earth and reducing the tree’s ability to take water and nutrients from the soil,” Minister Steel said.

Members of the community with suggestions on which trees could benefit from being on the extra watering program can visit with the location of a tree requiring extra attention.

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