Can you help quench the thirst of Bedford’s young trees?

Water Trees

Concerns over the health of younger trees across Bedford, that are struggling in the current hot and dry weather, has forced the local council to ask residents to help water them.

Bedford Borough Council has planted over 900 trees in the last two-years but a dry spring has seen many of them struggling to survive.

Now the council are asking residents to help by watering trees near them.

“Every bit of water helps, so if have a newly planted tree outside your home or nearby please do help us keep these trees healthy and growing,” said Cllr Charles Royden (Lib Dem), Portfolio Holder for Environment.

But it seems some local residents have been doing this anyway.

Jim Harris, posting in the Castle Residents Association Facebook group, said: “I have noticed that many of our street trees, especially the recently planted ones, are suffering in the heat from lack of water.

“I am giving the ones near me in George St. a thorough soaking to help them through.”

Top tips for watering a young tree near you:

  • Watering should ideally be carried out in the early morning or evening
  • It is good practice to water trees for the first three years after planting
  • If the tree has a watering pipe, then half of the water should be poured down the pipe and the other half on the surface of the tree. If the tree has a watering bag, then fill that
  • Where possible, water should be sustainably sourced. Harvested rainwater is ideal, but bath water, or water which has been used for the washing up, is also suitable

However, the council say they will still come out if there are concerns a young tree isn’t getting enough water.

To report a young tree in need of water, contact the tree team by email at or by calling 01234 267422.

Bedford Borough council has also joined with a number of groups to make sure the trees are watered regularly in the coming months.

The call to ‘water’ arms is part of a national campaign set up by the Arboricultural Association, London Tree Officers Association, Municipal Tree Officers Association and the Association of Tree Officers.

“The dry weather which much of the UK experienced during April raised the question about how trees might be affected by COVID-19 if those people who ordinarily water them are no longer able to do so,” said a spokesperson for the initiative.

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