Windsor trees perish from lack of water

By Dylan Kristy

Windsor, ON (August 27, 2010)- Residents near Windsor’s East Riverside Park would like to see the city step up to combat the dry, hot days of August. “They planted maybe 100 evergreen trees or so but they never water them and all those small ones are now dead and brown,” said Denis Dent, an avid park user.

“These trees are all dying and the city will end up coming back again and do it all over again.” Scattered on the west bank of the hill were dozens of young evergreen trees, many not planted in the ground. “It’s frivolous use of our tax dollars,” Dent said. Dent has lived near the park for five years and said the city has planted evergreen trees in the past that died and had to be removed.

“I called the mayor’s office and told them that they’re wasting our money by not watering our trees,” Dent said. “I haven’t heard back from them and I don’t think I ever will, to tell you the truth.” Bill Roesel, manager of forestry and horticulture for the city, said the city will water its trees the first year after they’re planted to allow them to get established.

“The critical period is the first year, year and a half and after that the trees are usually fairly drought-resistant and sometimes you don’t have to water because mother nature does it for us,” Roesel said. “They have decent root systems started up, but the dry spells can definitely be a challenge for the trees. “The trees in that park were definitely watered, I know they were. I saw them watered the other day.” The evergreens recently planted in East Riverside Park were inexpensive trees that Roesel estimated cost less than $5 each.

“We’re not looking at planting that whole hill up with trees. We’re leaving open spaces that will attract other insects and birds, we’ve even had some American Kestrel hunting out there,” Roesel said. He said August has been especially hard on trees because there hasn’t been a sustained period of rain. “If the trees die in a park we have let naturalize we quite often will leave it because it falls out and decays and helps provide nutrients to the soil,” Roesel said.

“If it’s in a park where we cut the grass in a manicured park then, yeah, usually we take them out and replace them.” According to Dent, the City of Windsor had laid sod in his neighbourhood but had to replace it as well after it died. “Certainly if homeowners have trees in front of their homes that have been planted recently we count on them to do the water too,” Roesel said. “We hope they help us out.”

Related Resource:
The Windsor Star- Windsor trees perish from lack of water