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Chicago Parks Crowdsource Water for Drought Blighted TreesChicago Parks Crowdsource Water for Drought Blighted Trees

Chicago Parks Crowdsource Water for Parched Young Trees

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What does real-life crowdsourcing look like? In drought-blighted Chicago, the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks are demonstrating the power of the crowd as part of a new campaign asking community members to help save the lives of 10,000 young trees.

Official agencies simply don’t have the resources necessary to care for the parks’ trees in the midst of this environmental emergency. Explains Erma Tranter, president of Friends of the Parks, “We’re in a crisis situation with the hottest summer in history.” Without providing this additional water, Chicago residents could suffer “a tremendous loss of trees, and the environmental benefits they provide by shading and cooling neighborhoods.”

Chicago isn’t the only city suffering the effects of this drought, the worst since 1956.  Current drought maps tell a frightening story, especially throughout farming country in the Midwest.

If your own area is desert-dry, you may be able to help even without an official campaign. While grandmotherly, well-established trees are likely to be able to reach deep for ground water, young trees, or those that have been planted within the past three years, need some assistance.

Just as with lawns, early morning or evening watering is best; use a gentle-flow hose or gallon bucket. Don’t go overboard! If you’re not sure if someone else has been watering a tree, check to see if the surrounding soil is moist: if it is, don’t water.

Roots will thrive with watering that mimics natural rainfall cycles: strive for fewer applications of more water, not frequent applications of less. Water young trees slowly and gently, at least six inches from the base of the tree, perhaps three times a week. Our ecosystem will thank you.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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