Save your water to save our trees

Published on 27th July 2018

Water flowing down a drain

With the recent hot weather, many young and newly planted trees in the borough are suffering from a lack of water.

Trees suffering from drought stress can have wilted leaves during the day which then recover at night, older leaves and needles looking brown faded or yellow, sometimes blotchy, and frequently shedding their leaves altogether.

Whilst the council is watering these trees, the more water they can get, the better their chance is of growing well and becoming fully established.

Chris Chavasse, trees officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “We are appealing to members of the public to not only water their own trees, but to also any new young trees on their neighbouring verges and green spaces.

“We’d advise people to re-use water such as bath water, washing up water (without too much detergent) or rain water from water butts, and any watering is best done either early or late in the day as this helps reduce evaporation - just water under the tree canopy as this is where most feeding roots will be.”

Please see more top tips for tree watering:

  • Water slowly so the water does not run-off.The ground may be hard so water will take time to permeate through the surface, so, especially to begin with, water slowly and thoroughly
  • Allow for at least one watering can twice a week per inch trunk diameter.Therefore if the trunk of the tree is 2” thick, give the tree 2 full watering cans (at least) twice a week.Less than this can lead to surface roots growing which can exacerbate problems if the watering stops
  • Water under the canopy of the tree-this is where most feeding roots will be.Sometimes a watering tube is sticking out of the ground-pour water down this tube so as many roots as possible will receive water
  • If possible, mulch the base of the tree.This will help reduce evaporation, weed competition, sun reflection etc.Mulch around the base (making sure the mulch does not touch the trunk) for at least 1 metre diameter around the trunk.Mulch can be shredded tree bark, wood chippings, leaf mould or even bits of old carpet.

Severn Trent have some top tips on how to be water wise this summer and still keep your garden healthy during the heatwave.


For media enquiries, contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk