The City of Seattle is using some bond initiative money to improve its urban forest – the plan is to plant over 8,000 street trees in the next decade.
One challenge is how to water well while the new trees are being established. In a time of budget crunches, the City just does not have the staff to allow for individual watering of each tree as often as needed to help it thrive.
Starting a year or so ago, I noticed these funny green plasticized cloth bags showing up at the base of each tree newly planted by the City:
Each bag, which according to the City’s site holds 20 gallons, is filled several times per week while the tree is establishing its roots. The water seeps into the soil directly where the tree needs it most, slowly draining out over the course of 6-10 hours.
Here’s what it looks like in relation to the full tree, this one a lovely red-bark Japanese maple with its golden fall plumage on nearly-full display:
Speaking from personal experience, a new tree in the parking strip is easy to forget about. I put in a very small Japanese snowbell that is not doing well, and I’m sure it’s due to lack of water during the dry season. I know these bags are kind of unsightly but maybe they are a good idea for those out-of-the-way plantings in super dry weather. That said, I have seen a row of trees in a parking strip near my house where some trees seem to be thriving and others are near death. All had the green bags on so presumably they were watered equally. What made the difference? No idea.
Has anyone used these successfully in a home garden? I found one online called the Treegator but it’s not cheap, $25 plus shipping for one bag. That’s a lot more than my Japanese snowbell cost!
For more information from the City of Seattle on watering in newly planted trees, click here.