ReForest London partnered with the City of London to deliver a pilot project of 500 tree watering kits to Londoners who received new boulevard trees. The program was very successful with positive feedback from those who received the kit. It was praised for its simplicity, innovation and positive message.
Paired with the announcement of the City of London’s new drought warning system, the program sent a strong message to the community about the City’s commitment to caring for its trees. Newly planted trees that are trying to establish themselves and recover from the shock of being transplanted are especially susceptible to drought conditions. Watering a tree slowly and deeply is best, and with that knowledge ReForest London developed its Tree Watering Kit program.
We needed to make the program simple, easy to use and low in cost to have this program available to all Londoners. People are often confused about how much to water a tree and how often. New trees need approximately 20 litres of water once a week, more during very hot and dry periods. Therefore, we created watering buckets, using recycled 20 litre wine buckets. We clean and place a large sticker over the writing along the buckets, and then drill holes in the bottom of the buckets.
We advise residents to place the bucket in the drip line of their new tree, fill the bucket with water and walk away, allowing the water to drain slowly into the soil to water the tree. Detailed instructions on making the Tree Watering Bucket are found in the resources section.
The large task of cleaning and preparing the buckets for the tree watering program was completed with the help of volunteers from a number of community groups. During our second year, we partnered with Community Living London, an organization which provides work opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, and we pay this organization to prepare the buckets. New business partnerships and sponsorships that helped make this program such a success included: Danny's Wines, Springbank Nursery and Hyde Park Nursery.
The tree watering kits were distributed in several ways. When the City of London planted the new tree, a tree care brochure was left with the resident. A sticky note attached to the brochure informed people that they could get a free tree watering kit delivered by calling ReForest London.
Additionally, kits can be requested by residents who heard about the program and wanted a kit for their new boulevard tree.
Overall, the tree watering campaign was a big success, and we hope it will be continued and extended to all Londoners who receive new city trees.