The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) feels that the current attitude toward trees in time of drought urgently needs to be challenged and revised.
Rather than contributing to the problems associated with water management, trees are part of the solution. In Spring 2012 London and the south east of England were officially declared to be in drought conditions.
Just as our trees were coming into leaf, water suppliers imposed heavy restrictions which affected how and when newly-planted specimens could be watered.
The benefits of trees in the urban landscape are well documented. However, it is sometimes forgotten that in order to enjoy the benefits of healthy mature trees, we must look after the young ones.
The most important aspect of this is watering them to ensure that they survive the dry months, particularly in times of drought.
The amounts involved are comparatively small; the LTOA have estimated that the newly planted trees of all thirty three London Boroughs could be watered for an entire year using less water than is contained in six Olympic-sized swimming pools.
For this small investment in water we will be in a much stronger position to secure the long-term future of the urban forest.
The recommendations contained in the LTOA Sustainable Water Management document can be summarised as follows:
• The water suppliers must act to include tree watering on the list of exemptions for future Temporary Usage Bans
• Water should be conserved wherever possible, and always used responsibly
• Grey water and rainwater should be used in preference to potable water
• A register of alternative sources of water such as swimming pools and boreholes should be kept, and a plan developed to utilise these resources when necessary
• Contractors, local authorities and other landowners should be encouraged to collect and store rainwater during wet months
• The general public should be engaged where appropriate to help with watering
• All operatives involved in tree watering should be properly trained to ensure that water is contained and transported in an efficient and waste-free manner
• Experience of different watering methods should be shared between tree managers
Jake Tibbetts, chair of the LTOA said "The LTOA is determined to ensure that newly-planted trees will not suffer as a result of future hosepipe bans. We are hoping that our SWM document - alongside our open letter to the water suppliers - will help secure the future of London's trees.".
For more information please contact Becky Porter, Executive Officer on 07771 976238.