July 11, 2012 by Sarah M
By Jeremy Zoss
Thanks to a mild winter and dry summer, newly planted boulevard trees need a bit of a helping hand. The Minneapolis Parks Board and its mascot Elmer the Elm are working hard to spread the message of watering young trees and offering up several simple, low-cost methods for keeping trees healthy.
The Minneapolis Parks Board Forestry Department plants boulevard trees in the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street at the request of citizens. With a watering bag, which the Forestry Department will deliver for no charge, a young boulevard tree can be watered for $3 a summer, said the Forestry Department’s Eric North. The 20-gallon bags can be filled with a hose and slowly dispense water to the tree’s base. North said a five-gallon bucket or a slowly trickling hose are good alternatives if a watering bag is not available. Boulevard trees should be watered once a week.
Boulevard trees are typically planted twice a year, spring and fall. Because of the tornado in Minneapolis last year, the number of young boulevard trees is especially high this summer. North estimates 3,000 boulevard trees were planted this spring in North Minneapolis alone.
The Parks Board mascot Elmer the Elm has been promoting weekly waterings at educational events, summer carnivals and other community events. Elmer has been the official Parks Board mascot since 1976 and promotes urban forestry issues.