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Wanted: more ‘tree guardians’

The search is on for more ‘tree guardians’ to help care for the thousands of new trees which have been planted in Cardiff.

An army of willing volunteers have helped plant more than 50,000 new trees in the city over the past two years as part of the ‘Coed Caerdydd’ mass tree-planting programme, which aims to support biodiversity and increase tree canopy coverage in the city from 18.9% to 25%.

But new trees need a lot of water to survive, and Cardiff Council is asking even more residents to help care for the new trees and look after the thousands that line the city streets.

Coed Caerdydd project manager Chris Engel said: “You can generally spot when a tree is dehydrated by looking at its leaves – if they’re starting to wilt, their leaves are yellowing, or they’re losing leaves, then that’s a sure sign they need some water.

“Trees will always benefit from a drop of water every day – the larger ones we’ve planted need more – but really anything will help, especially early in the morning or in the evening once the temperature has dropped. That way less water is lost to evaporation.

“Even well-established trees suffer when rainfall is very low, and we’d ask residents to think about the trees that may have been standing in the street outside their house for generations as well as any we have recently planted on the streets. But certainly for new trees, extended spells of hot and dry weather can be challenging.”

The trees planted over the past two planting seasons include fruit trees such as apple, hazel, pear and plum and non-fruiting trees such as alder, beech, hornbeam and rowan. Together they cover an area of land the equivalent of more than 30 football pitches.

Councillor Jennifer Burke, the council’s cabinet member for culture, parks and events, said: “Thanks to volunteers across the city there has been a step-change in the number of trees planted over the last two planting seasons.”

“But watering 50,000 trees is a massive job, and any further help residents can provide over the summer will be of real benefit to the trees, and to our efforts to make Cardiff a One Planet city.”

How to save water – and still water the trees and plants!

Water is a limited resource, so saving as much as we can is important. But there are ways to make the water we use go further… and help nature in the process

  1. Grey waste means any waste household water that isn’t considered sewage (flushed toilet water). So, this means washing-up water, water from washing machines and dishwashers and water we shower, wash or bathe in. Normally, grey water can contain harmful chemicals but using ‘green’ products like Ecover and Bio-D will limit the negative effects of using them to water plants

  2. If you have a grey water filtering system, great! If you don’t, once you have collected your grey water, perhaps via a collection point or an outside drainage point, leave it to stand for a day so microorganisms can start to degrade these active ingredients and contaminants can sink to the bottom

  3. In hot weather, pathogens can develop in the grey water if allowed to stand too long so use it for ornamental plants or trees rather than vegetables, for example. Water used for washing vegetables will be fine but washing up water from a barbecue needs caution

  4. Don’t water plants directly with grey water. Sink a plant pot into the soil near the plants and pour the grey water into it so micro-organisms break down in the soil and

  5. Never run grey water through hoses or sprinkler systems

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