How To Properly Water Your Trees

While people are supposed to drink about eight glasses of water a day, a tree in Ohio with a 10’ canopy can require as much as 100 gallons a day!

There are a couple of crucial considerations when it comes to watering trees. Insufficient water can lead to poor outcomes, including killing the tree. Too much water without sufficient aeration and drainage can have the same result.

A quick, easy way to test is to use a screwdriver to get about 2 – 3 inches down into the soil. If that soil feels moist to the touch, it’s exactly how it should be. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water.

Watering a young tree (<25 years old) is a matter of watering the roots around the trunk. You don’t want to flood the tree trunk, nor do you want to water outside the root ball.

Older trees (>25 years or a trunk over 12” in diameter) require deep watering completed occasionally. You’re looking at about 10 gallons per 1” of trunk diameter per week during dry conditions.

So how do you get that water to your trees, without standing around with a hose all day?

There is a range of solutions, from slow-release water bags, bubbler hoses, and overhead irrigation systems, through to a 5-gallon bucket with holes drilled in the base.

Citygreen has shown exceptional outcomes with the healthy and fast growth of trees by combining soil vault systems, such as Stratavault, with perforated flexible piping systems around the root ball, for example, the Snorkil products.

By creating space for adequate aeration with the Stratavault, you can limit excessive soil compression, and the perforated pipes provide airflow and enable water to be piped directly into the roots.

Combining systems like these in urban areas with permeable pavements, and connecting roof water systems to tree pits helps harvest stormwater, better managing both tree watering needs and stormwater management. To find out more about watering and aerating tree pits to improve growth outcomes, head to


How Will Cities Change Post Lockdown?

Lockdown. A time when many of us became all too familiar with our own homes. With restrictions easing in many parts of the world, many cities are re-evaluating what public space looks like.

One measure gaining traction with many businesses and local councils is the encouragement of alfresco dining and drinking. The Clematis Streetscape Project, currently in its final stage, saw one of the most iconic streets in West Palm Beach undergo significant changes, creating a more welcoming, comfortable outdoor experience.

(You can find out more about that project, which Citygreen were proud to be involved with here – Clematis Street case study)

Liverpool is another city looking to create green spaces which spread people out and improve social distancing, without resorting to bright yellow and orange ‘caution’ tape.

Their outdoor dining initiative is designed to give the city’s restaurants a much-needed boost and involves pedestrianizing several streets completely and introducing “parklets”.

According to design consultancy Meristem, parklets are a way of converting parking spaces into something far more welcoming than the typical park bench, with seating, plants, green walls, and shade trees. Where before, parking availability was a primary concern, the focus is now on creating spaces that welcome people.

Meristem director Habib Khan said, “research shows that the majority of money spent in businesses on High Streets and in cities is not from drivers anymore.” Parklets and similar spaces are a critical component of creating safe, inviting outdoor dining environments and helping businesses emerge from their coronavirus lockdown.

The use of plants and trees to provide shade and tranquillity in busy city hubs is vital, and Liverpool has even included transparent screens in parklet designs so that people can be together, but be assured in their own bubble.

And while 2016 saw office spaces everywhere looking at including green walls in their building, bringing the outdoors inside, 2020 might see the world flip the switch on that concept. With more cities looking to increase alfresco dining options, green walls and parklets might see more of our indoors showing up outside.

Citygreen is supportive of any idea that transforms grey spaces into green and helps cities and industries thrive in a post lockdown world. To find out more about our Green Wall solutions, head to

Recycling is in our DNA at Citygreen

More than 80% of marine litter is plastic, with single-use plastics making up 70% of all ocean waste. Statistics like these contributed to the recent announcement that Germany would be banning single-use plastics nationwide from July 3, 2021.

‘With today’s cabinet decision, we are taking an important national step in the fight against the plastic flood.’ Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said.

The German announcement brings it in line with the ‘Single-Use Plastics Directive’, a European Union mission to reduce plastic waste. That directive is on track to reduce the European Unions environmental damage bill by €22 billion (over $36 billion AUD) by 2030. Globally, the focus on reducing plastic waste is growing, not just through recycling but cutting the introduction of virgin plastics. Louise Edge, senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK believes that companies and governments need to drive change.

‘Companies and governments still need to step up and shift us away from using plastic for throwaway items like food and drink packaging. They can ensure plastic is only used for essential items – like medical kit – and that it is captured and reused at the end of its life. That’s the only way we will stop this contamination of our environment.’

At Citygreen, recycling is in our DNA and we’re proud of our focus on environmentally sustainable systems which result in over a million kilograms of plastic being recycled and reused every year to promote healthy tree canopies in urban areas.

We take that recycled plastic and use it to make the strongest soil vaults in the world, the Stratavault and Stratacell products which are proven to improve the growth rate and health of trees in urban areas. The combination of product quality, durability, speed of installation, and 100% recycled plastics means we provide the greenest way to create green spaces.



Philadelphia launches 10-Year Urban Forest Plan

Philadelphia’s urban forest is dwindling fast, with the city losing an alarming equivalent of 1000 football fields worth of leafy shade in the last 10 years. Recognising this concerning trend, the city has launched a 10-Year Urban Forest Plan, kicking off with a ‘Tree Summit’ at the Discovery Centre in East Fairmount Park. The summit will bring together arborists, educators and community leaders organised by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Office of Sustainability.

The announcement comes on the heels of a decade-long look at how the tree canopy — a measurement of the layers of leaves, branches, and stems trees provide — fared from 2008 to 2018. Overall, the report found that the city gained 1,980 acres of tree canopy in the 10 years studied, but also lost 3,075 acres. Much of the loss came from the removal of trees that line streets. Tree canopy now covers only about 20% of land within the city, the report states. The goal is to increase that to 30%.

“We’re trying to target areas that have the most need for trees and are the most vulnerable,” said Erica Smith-Fichman, Philadelphia’s Community Forestry Manager. Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, “The launch of the Future of the Urban Forest planning process is an opportunity to accelerate efforts from across Philadelphia to protect our tree canopy and improve quality of life and health outcomes for residents.”


Skyline of Philadelphia, PA, USA


Urban heat islands impact Adelaide’s most vulnerable residents

South Australia is notoriously hot but some parts of Adelaide are sweltering more than ever. Not surprisingly, these are the suburbs that contain “urban heat islands” leading to higher than average temperatures compared to neighbouring suburbs. You may think what difference does a few degrees make? Well, as it turns out, a lot – with these suburbs often coinciding with higher levels of vulnerability, including illness and death, especially amongst the elderly.

Former aged care worker Wendy Farmilo, 75, lives in Tranmere near Campbelltown in suburban Adelaide — an area overrun with urban heat islands. Ms Farmilo said because of cooling measures she has put in place she has managed to avoid the full brunt of the weather but is urging others to take precautions. “Older people do not drink enough water, they get dehydrated… they feel if they drink too much they might have a bladder problem,” she said.

According to a report prepared by consultancy firm Edge South Australia, nearly all of the heat islands in Ms Farmilo’s council are also home to society’s most vulnerable. “Urban heat is one of the biggest killers of people in our community, more so than any other natural hazard,” Edge SA General Manager Dr Mark Siebentritt said. “One of the big strategies we can use to tackle that is the planting of more trees. Councils right around South Australia are planting more trees than ever before.”

Landscape Architect and green space advocate Daniel Bennett said boosting tree cover would reduce heat, as well as improving “mental and physical wellbeing. Increasing the city’s connected tree canopy is one way to achieve a reduction in local temperatures as well as reducing the urban heat island effect.”

One thing is clear – as temperatures continue to soar, urban trees are not just a nice-to-have. They’re literally a matter of life and death.


Urban forest technique reduces temperatures in Karachi

In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, 16 million inhabitants swelter in insufferable conditions. In 2015, when temperatures soared above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, 2000 people died from dehydration and heatstroke.

Devastated by the loss of life, Shahzad Qureshi decided something had to change. “It was just too hot. It was just one of those times where you ask, what the hell is wrong with this place? And one of the things everybody was talking about is that there’s not enough green cover.”

Around that time, Qureshi saw a TED talk that changed his life. In the talk, Shubhendu Sharma shared a method to quickly grow dense urban forests. “The TED talk sounded just so beautiful at the time. I was like ‘I have been shown this light, and if I’m not going to run for it, who will?’” Qureshi decided to learn Sharma’s technique and bring it to Karachi, joining a growing global community of urban foresters who want to help their cities adapt to extreme urban heat events caused by rapid climate change.

Sharma’s special technique is known as the Miyawaki method and involves the close placement of a variety of trees with different growing speeds and light requirements to prevent competition for the same resources. It uses native species, allowing trees to thrive in their original climates while supporting native bird and insect populations – and reducing urban heat island effect.

Over the last four years, Qureshi’s organisation Urban Forest has planted 14 urban forests in parks, schools, private yards and outside of a mosque. Qureshi’s oldest urban forest is four years old and already has towering, 35-foot-tall Acacia trees full of big, thorny branches and birds’ nests. “I have seen bird species in this park which I have not seen in my life. It’s a habitat for them.” And when it comes to cooling, the urban forest is working. In the heat of the day, inside the forests can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding areas.

Sharma said, “Within two or three years, we see a barren patch of land getting converted into forest. And that’s the kind of motivation we need right now everywhere in the world.”



Empress Market in Karachi, Pakistan

New urban forest tower planned for South Brisbane

23-25 Glenelg Street in South Brisbane is set to house an innovative new urban forest. Expanding the idea of a vertical garden, the new residential building called ‘The Urban Forest’ lodged by Aria Property Group will incorporate 1003 trees and 20,000 plants into the building itself. With a green plot ratio of 292%, this will make it the world’s greenest residential tower.

Designed by Koichi Takada Architect, this visionary building will achieve several milestones including the first standalone 5-star Green Star residential building and the highest communal recreation area. A 30-storey tower, it will include 383 apartments, 561 car spaces, 5 electric cars for the residents’ use, ground floor retail and two communal rooftop levels. The design will feature a huge open space on the ground floor and beyond with seating, art, water features and a children’s play area with waterfalls and ponds.

Aria’s Development Manager, Michael Hurley, said they want this new building to set the benchmark for green urban centres. “In time we want Brisbane to be mentioned in the same breath as Singapore as a global leader in green buildings and sustainability,” Hurley said.

Architect, Koichi Takada, said their practice was promoting cities to inspire the next generation to create mass greening for a sustainable and greener future. “The Urban Forest is a vertical park which features five times the trees found in nearby Musgrave Park and a Green Plot Ratio [at] 292 per cent [of] the site area in gardens; equivalent to taking over 150 cars off the road each year. It is important to bring such a building to Brisbane at this time, as unlike more populated cities, Brisbane still offers abundant opportunity to define and shift the city to a more natural and humanised approach. The result is the greenest residential building with generous backyards in the sky and offers a healthier way to live.”

This gloriously green building will no doubt attract visitors from the local community and beyond, and will feature a visitor’s information centre and guided experience to educate on the building and its cutting-edge green features. Stay tuned to see this stunning and unusual design come to life.


Urban forest on the chopping block in Rose Bay golf course proposal

Urban planner Sebastian Pfautsch “nearly fell out of his chair” when he mapped the $17 million proposal by Royal Sydney Golf Club in Rose Bay to remove what he estimates are 5.4 hectares of paperbarks, hoop pines and Moreton Bay figs. Many of the 569 trees potentially on the chopping block – if Woollahra Council approves the plan – are healthy mature trees with large canopies that are expected to live for another 50 years.

“That’s a complete small urban forest – gone. I cannot fathom the scale of the tree removal, in times where we are trying so hard to green the city,” Dr Pfautsch, a senior lecturer in Urban Studies from Western Sydney University, said. “Replacing a mature tree that provides 300 square metres of shade, food and habitat with an advanced tree that has three square metres of shade is just not going to work,” he said. “We don’t just need to replace individual trees, but the canopy cover they provide.”

While councils were largely responsible for managing trees on a site-by-site basis, NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said he expected any application to remove trees “would see a greater number of trees planted in their place.” But more needs to be done to protect existing trees or transplant them, Dr Pfautsch said. “We don’t have the time; it is hot now and we can’t wait until 2120 for new trees to grow.”

His research showed streets in Parramatta, Cumberland and Campbelltown with a 30% canopy experienced fewer days of heatwaves and could be 10 degrees cooler. Urban forests cool local neighbourhoods and act as buffers against wind. With climate change, it’s unclear whether newly planted trees will ever grow as much as those planted when the weather was not as hot and dry.

A spokesperson for Woollahra Council said it was “premature” to say the trees would be removed because the club’s development application was still under consideration. The council has requested further information and engaged a consulting arborist to provide advice. More than 100 objections to the DA have been submitted, and a Facebook site Save The Trees Rose Bay is campaigning against the proposal.


Royal Sydney Golf Club.

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