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Help thirsty trees during this heat wave

The Minneapolis Park Board reminds residents that ALL city trees need water now, and any time they don't get an inch of rain per week.

MINNEAPOLIS — Homeowners across the Twin Cities metro and Minnesota are watching their lawns and wringing their hands as a relatively dry summer and short-term heat wave turn their carefully coiffed lawns from deep green to toasty brown. 

Well, there's another living thing that is increasingly thirsty and needs some love. 

The Minneapolis Park Board (MPB) is reminding residents of all cities that trees need at least an inch of rain per week through the entire summer AND fall. If things are especially hot and dry, as they are this week, your trees need a bit of help... especially trees under five years old and those planted along boulevards (land between your sidewalk and the street). 

Here are three easy, non-time consuming ways to give your trees a drink:

  • Fill a tree watering bag. If you live near a newly planted tree supplied with a green tree watering bag, fill the bag once a week. When it's one-quarter full, pull up on the bag handles to straighten it. Bags hold 20 gallons of water and take about five minutes to fill.
  • Use a five-gallon bucket to slowly pour water around the base of a tree. Do this four times for 20 gallons once a week.
  • Run a garden hose on a slow trickle, placed at least six inches from the tree trunk. Let it run for an hour each week. 

MPB says it's best to water in the evenings to avoid water evaporation, just like with your lawn, and maintains that the cost of watering one tree each week through summer and fall (23 weeks total) is just $3.  

Sure, trees are nice to look at, but The Nature Conservancy says they have more far-reaching natural superpowers like devouring greenhouse gases that cause climate change, filtering ground water and providing habitat for wildlife. Keeping trees hydrated will improve their health and vibrancy, help them fend off pests and extend their lives. 

For more on the importance of trees and benefits of nurturing an urban forest, check out the Minneapolis Park Board webpage. 

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