Park Board asks for help battling drought

With much of the region enduring drought conditions, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board [MPRB] is asking citizens to lend a hand — or, better yet, a hose.

Thousands of young boulevard trees planted this spring require regular watering while drought conditions persist, the MPRB Forestry Division reported. Forestry crews got the saplings off to a good start, but now they’re relying on citizens to get the trees through continued dry weather.

The Forestry Division planted about 4,000 trees citywide this spring, replacing trees lost to storms, disease and other causes. Crews spread wood chips at the base of each tree and watered them twice in June.

Now, though, the health of those boulevard trees is the responsibility of nearby property owners. The MPRB recommended watering the trees once or twice every week Minneapolis receives less than one inch of rainfall.

To water a boulevard tree, place a garden hose near the base. Let the water run at a slow rate for about two hours.

The goal is to let water soak about 18 inches into the ground, where about 90 percent of a young tree’s root system is growing. It takes about 20 gallons of water to give a new tree a good soaking, the MPRB reported.

Residents also were encouraged to maintain a four-inch layer of mulch at the base of the new boulevard trees. To find a Forestry Division woodchip distribution site near your home, visit the MPRB website (www.minneapolisparks.org) or call 370-4900.

U.S. Drought Monitor reported in early July that much of the Twin Cities region was experience “moderate drought” conditions.