BALLARAT is set to join cities around Australia and overseas by engaging community members to help water local trees with plastic buckets.
Pioneered by cities including Washington DC, home owners and local businesses will be provided with free nine-litre buckets made from recycled plastic and be asked to assist by watering trees from the council’s annual street planting program.
The move comes after the dry summer period saw several trees in Ballarat lost due to lack of water.
City of Ballarat councillor Vicki Coltman said residents’ efforts would build on the council’s regular watering program for new plantings around the CBD, with the additional care ensuring a higher survival rate of new plantings.
“The buckets are fully recycled and will also contain information about the planted tree, how to care for it and what it will look like when it grows,” Cr Coltman said.
“Residents will be able to use the buckets to water the trees.”
Each new tree will be watered and maintained by the council for at least one growing season, with the $750 bucket initiative partially offset by a reduction in the number of trees that later need to be replaced.
About 500 new trees will be planted by the council in locations throughout Ballarat, including Wendouree, Alfredton, Ballarat Central and Sebastopol.
Adopted by local councils in Melbourne and Orange, New South Wales, some US local governments have taken tree preservation a step further by adding QR codes to plantings and asking residents and business owners to adopt a newly planted
Passersby can scan the barcodes via a smartphone and register to water the tree each week and clear away rubbish or weeds.
Cities in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand have established citizen networks who take on regular watering and pruning of trees.