Become a tree warden and help keep your street green and leafy

Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2020

With London continuing to enjoy warm weather and little rainfall, councillors are praising the efforts of a team of local volunteers who are helping to look after the borough’s street trees.

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The Wandsworth Tree Wardens have produced a helpful leaflet

The Wandsworth Tree Warden Network is comprised of local residents who perform an important public service by keeping a close eye on the condition of street trees in their neighbourhoods.

If a tree is showing signs of illness or disease they can give the council’s team of arboricultural experts early warning so that action can be taken quickly to help it recover.

And in warm weather spells they can be relied on to regularly give their street trees a good watering.

The council’s environment spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters has paid tribute to their efforts and thanked them for their work on behalf of the community.

She said: “The borough’s tree wardens do a fantastic job keeping trees healthy and our streets green. We are grateful for everything they do.

“We would encourage residents to join the network and do something really positive for their neighbourhoods.

“And if people don’t want to formally join, they can still do their bit and water the trees in their street and help keep them green and healthy.”

Every year the council plants around 500 new street trees and there are around 16,000 in Wandsworth, plus approximately 45,000 more in parks commons and housing estates.

As part of the planting contract, newly planted trees are regularly watered for 12 months – but in prolonged warm spells they can still suffer from dehydration. Older trees may be better able to cope with dry conditions but would still benefit hugely from regular watering.

Signs that a tree is in distress include the leaves browning and dropping prematurely, the ground around the base of the tree becoming dry and cracked or the tree struggling to come into leaf after a dry spring.

Watering the tree with a few buckets of water every week will help ensure the young tree has a good start. Watering at night helps ensure minimum loss of water through evaporation - which can be as much as 30 per cent during the heat of the day.

Water can be poured down the watering pipe but it is also important to apply water on the surface and allow it to soak down to those roots that are close to the surface. If need be, hardened earth can be loosened with a fork or trowel to prevent excessive water run-off.

People can find out more about the Wandsworth Tree Wardens - and how to join their network of volunteers by visiting https://wandsworthtreewardens.org/

Please keep an eye out for your street trees