Water Your Trees (and Maybe Not Your Lawn) During the Drought

Several metro-area cities have announced or are encouraging water conservation measures to help cope with the ongoing drought. These include Minneapolis, Columbia Heights, St. Paul, Lauderdale, and St. Anthony Village, to name a few in our watershed.

Water levels in the Mississippi River are lower than normal, and the conservation measures are designed in part to help reduce demand on the river, which supplies drinking water to many residents.

There are many simple ways to conserve potable water, including being smart about how you water your lawn. The City of Minneapolis has a good list of water conservation tips.

The drought is taking its toll on trees, however — so much so that many cities are asking residents to water their trees (especially young ones) to help ensure their survival. In its latest Sustainability Update, the City of Minneapolis included this simple tip for watering trees:

An effective way to water a tree is to turn on a slow stream of water (just so the hose is weeping) for a few hours. Watering in the evening after dinner time is most effective since it minimizes evaporation, and trees tend to take most of their water during the night. Watering one tree weekly costs only about $3 for 23 weeks – the entire summer-fall season. For people who lose track of when they last watered a tree, a good way to remember is to water trees on the same day trash is picked up.

FYI, trees play an important role in managing stormwater runoff. A single tree in Minneapolis can intercept an average 1,685 gallons of rainwater each year. That’s in addition to the many other benefits trees provide, such as filtering air pollutants, providing shade, reducing the urban heat island effect, and fighting climate change.

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