Keeping trees green

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- "It's good biking weather and it's good to be outside," said Tanya Gruetzman who was at Phoenix Park with her cat Monday night.

It is days like this she likes to soak up the summer sun and take her cat Sparrow out for walks in Phoenix Park. But as much as she likes warm afternoons, she said breaks are good, too.

"It's nice to have the shade, now if I was out in the sun all the time, then I wouldn't have enjoyed it," she said.

We caught up with her and Sparrow while they were taking a break under the trees.

As for new trees, the weather has caused some problems with planting. Normally they are ordered by February and planted by April. But this year that was pushed back to May in some cases.

"Most ideal time to plant trees is when they're dormant and we were receiving trees from the nurseries that were already budded out or blossoming to some degree," said Todd Chwala, the Eau Claire Parks, Forestry and Cemetery Superintendent.

On top of that, you have last summer's drought, something he says takes more than a season to recover from.

"The rate of mortality isn't unusual for us this year but we're just seeing some trees that didn't come around or didn't bud out this year," he added.

And so the city has turned to some other solutions to make sure the trees get enough to drink.

Chwala says the department has also been using tree watering bags to help. They wrap around the base of the tree and hold about 10 gallons of water. He says they have about 800 to 900 of these and each one costs about $15.

You can see them wrapped along trees on South Hastings Way in Eau Claire. The idea is to keep water close by, away from the threat of evaporation. You can even get them for your own trees or water the old fashioned way.

He says if we get less than a half-inch of rain during the week, make sure your tree gets 10 to 20 gallons of water, the best time is in the evening.

"There is less evaporation loss," he said. "Focus on keeping water right around the root zone and make sure the tree gets all the water that you're giving it."

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