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Watering Bags to Establish New City Trees

July 12, 2012 – The City of Thunder Bay is pleased to announce it has been selected by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Tree Canada to receive a $15,000 grant from the TD Green Streets program for its 2012 Tree Bag Watering Program. 75 applications were submitted to the 2012 TD Green Streets program and Thunder Bay is one of 21 municipalities selected to receive a grant. This year is the second year Thunder Bay has received a TD Green Streets Grant.  Last year the grant helped launch the new Citizen Pruner Program.

“The goal of TD Green Streets is to encourage the adoption of leading-edge practices in municipal forests,” said Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. “We want to commend the City of Thunder Bay for developing a program that will provide such a great enhancement to the environment.” 

The City of Thunder Bay Parks Division is pleased to offer this trial watering program for newly planted boulevard and parks trees.  The program consists of 400+ tree watering bags installed on newly planted trees in Thunder Bay and the filling of each bag once a week with 76 Liters (20 gallons) of water.  Tree watering bags take only minutes to fill with a hose on full flow.  The bag will then efficiently deliver the water to the tree roots over the following six-to-nine hours.  The tree bags will be filled from July until October and will then be removed for the winter. City residents are encouraged to fill their own tree bag.  Homeowners with a tree watering bag on their newly planted tree are encouraged to refill their own watering bag and will have the choice to keep the bag for the winter and fill it until the ground freezes and again the following year. 

Tree watering bags are an efficient way to water newly planted trees for up to two years after they have been planted.  Tree watering after two years should be located outwards of the tree’s drip line where the roots will have expanded to.  Continued tree watering and care is encouraged by city residents to keep the tree healthy as it grows. 

“Proper soil moisture for root growth is especially important for newly planted trees,” said Rena Viehbeck, Urban Forest Program Specialist with the City. “Lack of water is the single greatest factor that leads to the death of newly planted trees. Slow water application, by using a tree watering bag or leaving your hose on at a slow trickle for one-to-two hours prevents surface runoff and allows the water to reach the absorbing roots of the tree.”

Tree watering bags are also a visual reminder to citizens that trees require water.  Urban conditions are a difficult setting for trees to grow and require our assistance to survive and thrive.

“We’re pleased that we have been able to support the efforts of Thunder Bay,” said Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada. “We look forward to seeing the Tree Bag Watering Program come to life.” 

Our urban forest provides many environmental, social and economic benefits for the whole city in addition to helping our city become a more beautiful place to live.  The City of Thunder Bay hopes that those citizens with newly planted trees enjoy the ease of care the tree watering bags provide.

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Contact: Rena Viehbeck, Urban Forest Program Specialist, 625-2956