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Over the Fence

Where gardeners come to find out what's happening out in the yard.

Adopt Your Parkway Tree

Posted by Richard Hentschel -

Down the Garden Path

Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator

Just drive around the neighborhoods and start counting all the parkway trees that have been planted as a result of the tree replacement programs our cities and villages have put in place and you can quickly understand the title of my column.

This is a bad news, good news story. The bad news is you may have been unlucky and had an ash tree die from the Emerald Ash Borer, leaving your parkway bare and sunny. The good news is your city or village has replaced that ash tree with brand new young tree. Perhaps your tree was a partnership between you and the village or city, providing you some matching dollars to get the tree replaced. The removal and replacement program has not been inexpensive or planned on by communities, leaving post planting care to Mother Nature in a lot of cases. Certainly no one had a crystal ball that was working well when all those trees got planted this spring (and don't forget the replacement trees that were planted last fall too) or plantings could have been delayed to avoid the drought we are having.

As you do your windshield tour you will also see those green "gator bags" used to keep the trees watered are just about everywhere. These bags of course also come with a cost and then the upkeep of keeping them filled with water too. The bags are great because they put the water exactly where it is needed, right into the root ball where the roots are.

Now there is no official program, no adoption papers to fill out, and no one will coming by to do a parkway tree wellness visit, no key to the city, but if you do adopt that tree good things happen...the tree lives! Looking forward a few years there will be that shady spot to park the car on the street or perhaps it shades part of your front yard or driveway again. There are very few adoption rules to follow. If you have a "Gater Bag" around your tree, keep it filled. The bag releases water slowly, but that water only lasts less than 3 days and it will be empty again. A couple times a month, water the surrounding soil too; making sure the tree has the moisture to encourage new roots to grow out past the planting hole. If your tree has no watering bag, use your hose to put water directly on the ground in the area that was dug to plant your tree. If the planting was mulched in, check to be sure the soil is staying moist under the mulch, but you will still need to water. Use a slow rate of flow to be sure the water really soaks in. Your goal will be to put on as much water as possible without the water running off into the curb.

If we let these brand new trees die, it will be an aesthetic loss to the neighborhood, a decrease in property values and a big loss to the environment we all live in. Get out there and adopt your tree, the neighbors or both.



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