Council Tree Planting Programs

Prevent Urban Heat Islands

Improve Success of Council Tree Planting Programs, Reduce Costs with WaterUps

Intensive council tree planting programs across Australia’s urban centres are required to help mitigate the serious heat island affect coming in 2030 – four decades sooner than scientist had allowed!

While many ambitious urban greening projects are being implemented by various councils, many tree planting initiatives will fail without adequate water in the first three years of a tree’s life.

  • Why the increased urgency?
  • How effective is the current planting approach?
  • What’s the solution for the water challenges we face?
  • And how councils can afford these solutions.

Read on to discover how councils and property developers can future proof their environs to better cope with drought and downpour – and why councils need to go hard, go fast and go now!

The increased Urgency

CSIRO Research released in Nov 2022  found that climate change will profoundly influence the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) by 2030 – with huge implications for how Australia needs to prepare for extreme weather events.

The Easter Pacific Ocean will warm up substantially and draw rain bands way from the western Pacific (Australia’s East Coast), leading to droughts and dryer conditions in Australia.

According to the CSIRO report, sustained La Niñas will likely follow powerful El Niño events bringing more intense rain and flooding. This will be more extreme than what we’ve encountered in the last decade with more severe drought and flooding events. As one observer noted, “it will make 2019 feel like a walk in the park.”

The UN’s urgent plea is. “We must build and rebuild our landscapes better, mimicking nature wherever possible and creating functional ecological systems.”

Current council tree planting programs have too much wastage

Recent wetter years have lulled some into complacency around the moisture levels of soil. Young plants need regular water as their roots are close to the surface where evaporation is constant. In NSW the government guidelines are:

  • 4 x weekly for the 1st month.
  • 3 x weekly for 2nd and 3rd months, and
  • 2 x weekly for the outstanding establishment period (18 months).

With looming climate emergency, council tree planting programs need to be driven by ensuring trees can establish deep roots as quickly as possible (to draw on deep moisture and to be more secure in heavy rain events).

In the past, some councils have used a black coil pipe to provide water deeper down to help sustain a tree. These are no longer the best solution due to the rapid seepage factor. We are seeing many recent examples where mass plantings have been an abysmal failure – and a huge waste of money.

NOTE: Photos taken in 2022 and 2023, None of these dead trees or plants were grown in WaterUps.

Only 1 of these 4 trees has survived.

There is a better way to implement council tree planting programs.

The solution to water challenges 

The best solution is to use a wicking system to provide water underneath the young plant so it will always have a regular supply of moisture at a depth of around 40 cm below the surface.

The WaterUps Tree Reservoir was designed specifically for this purpose. The Reservoir holds 17.5 L of water that wicks to the soil above, providing optimal moisture to where saplings need it the most. Because of this, trees need far less watering from Council Maintenance departments.

With WaterUps, the submerged underground reservoir is less affected by evaporation or surface level seepage, therefore the water lasts longer, requiring less council maintenance trucks to visit and water the plant.

What’s more, the reservoir can retain rainwater, thereby sustaining plants for longer (and requiring fewer water maintenance visits).

Over time, the roots can grow around the reservoir and deeper, while still having access to a water supply approximately 40 cm below the surface.

How councils pay for these solutions

A single WaterUps Tree Reservoir costs less than $50 ex GST.

It might add a lot to the cost of an individual plant HOWEVER, it pays for itself in the first month by cutting watering visits down from 16 to 4.

The news gets better!

In the first 18 months of its life it saves councils or developers $580 a tree in reduced watering labour costs WHILE ENSURING TREE SURVIVAL!

Saving water usage volumes is also significant – nearly 1000 Litres of water saved in the 18 month period.

How councils afford this is simple:

Combine planting budgets with maintenance budget and reap the rewards!

>> Massive financial gains for council budgets, better ROI on the urban greening initiatives, a better result for rate payers and importantly trees that survive – creating that much needed cooler, greener environment – an essential defence mechanism for the heatwaves to come.

This exciting innovation will also increase a tree’s green canopy 30% year on year for the first 3 years of a tree’s life.

The time to plant is now

Urban residents want more shade trees in their urban areas. A Brisbane City Council Survey conducted in 2020 is case in point.

For councils and developers across Australia the time to implement this solution is NOW not when the rain dries up.

Download our Council Tree Planting Savings Estimator Fact Sheet today.

Our Tree Savings Estimator will help Council Tree Planting Programs see the savings with WaterUps Wicking.