UKTC Archive

Re: [EXTERNAL] Watering trees during the establishment phase

Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] Watering trees during the establishment phase
From: Bill Anderson
Date: Feb 10 2020 14:18:38
As a result of the Sheffield street tree row, the Council put signs up
asking neighbours to water the replacements. They didn't go into much
detail, I presume they anticipated that people would use common sense or
ask. Despite all the publicity surrounding the street tree row, one of our
crew who religiously watered the new trees on the street where he lives,
was regularly asked what he was doing......

I believe that the Council contractors (Amey, in case you've forgotten)
discussed not watering and simply replacing the trees when they failed
(which would be cheaper than watering), but decided that this was too
politically controversial..... I must say it's already hard to remember the
drought of summer 2018; we seem to have been wading through floods and mud
for the last 6 months so discussing watering newly planted trees seems
rather perverse, at least until it isn't.

On Mon, 10 Feb 2020 at 13:57, Howe, Ron <> wrote:


Our contracts used to specify that 12-14 Extra Heavy Standard Trees (which
is what we mainly planted) were given 25 litres per week in times of
extreme dry weather conditions subject to a special request and it was done
on day rates. A couple of Gangs would go around with 500 litre towed
bowsers and that doesn't go very far.

The contractors had to get special licences from the EA to extract water
from the River Mole because of hose-pipe bans and so on ... obviously, we
used watering tubes and mulch mats etc.. Otherwise, most of our trees,
spread about various sites just have to make their own way in life so, we
did a focussed approach. If you get an extreme dry summer you have to
accept some tree losses. As others have said, it is a black art and you
need to be reasonable. The practicalities of private gardens and estates
and public trees are completely different. If you don't attempt to preserve
water with mulch and things then you're flogging a dead horse.


Ron Howe
Tree Officer (Planning)
Mole Valley District Council
Tel. 01306 XXX XXX

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Ben Rose
Sent: 09 February 2020 13:54
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Watering trees during the establishment phase

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So recently I read a specification produced by a large and well-respected
landscape architecture firm that recommended watering semi-mature trees
with '5 litres of water as and when required'. I set them straight but it
made me realise that there isn't much clear guidance out there.

I'm now putting together my own guide and have come up with the attached
table. I would be interested to hear what others think about what I'm
suggesting. Any comments would be welcome, on or off forum.

Also, I'd be very grateful if anyone was willing to share their irrigation
specifications with me so that I can hopefully produce a practical guide.

Thanks in advance,


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