On Saturday, Councillor Clive Stevens – @SageAndOnion – and I spent some time filling up the Hippo bags (specially designed tree watering bags) connected to newly planted trees on the Downs to see how long they would take to drain. We used four 5 gallon water containers placed on chairs so that they were high enough and then siphoned the water into the bag.
We can report that the bags do work effectively and take several hours to drain from completely full to empty. Probably four hours is a good estimate. As the problem does not lie with the bags, there must be some other reason why the soil under many of the new trees was completely dry for so long.
Several of those trees on the Downs that were completely dry when I checked them on Friday (7th July 2017) are now damp. They must have been watered some time after 18:30 on that Friday and midday Saturday (when Clive and I went around watering), which is good.
Clive and I filled up the bags of a couple more where we found that the soil was completely dry (between Westbury Road and Westbury Park). There are still some more in that area where the soil is still completely dry. We haven’t done a complete survey of the Downs, but the soil under most of the other trees is now damp and there was still residual water in many of the bags on Saturday morning.
The Hungarian oaks on Parrys Lane have now had damp soil for the last 10 days, so the system is now working for them.
BUT on Easton Way…..
We hear from @averagearborist that there is a whole row of newly planted trees on Easton Way that have died, despite having only been planted only last year. I went to have a look and they really are in sorry state.
It was a great idea to plant these trees but so sad that they are now dead or dying. It sends a poor message to the people who live in this area.
We are told that it should be OK because the Council has said that it will replace newly planted, sponsored trees that die before they are successfully established. Here on Easton Way is a very dead tree.
A quick examination of Google Streetview shows that it was already dead by June 2014. When, we wonder, will it be replaced?