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Green bags helping Kamloops trees ward off drought

Tree bags at the corner of Highland Road and Valleyview Drive.
August 06, 2015 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – Those strange green bags you’ve seen around city trees are a clever system of irrigation that uses less water, requires less time to maintain and is environmentally sustainable.

While the city has used these water bags for a number of years, they have been placed in higher visibility areas this year.

“We are using the bags in areas where there is insufficient irrigation or where irrigation has been damaged,” Brian Purves of the arboriculture department says. 

For example, the bags have been put on trees near the Tournament Capital Centre this year. The irrigation system in the area has been temporarily shut off due to a break in the water supply pipe.

Purves says not all varieties of trees require the portable irrigation system and the city focuses on young deciduous trees, or trees that shed their leaves each fall as they require more water. Although, spruce trees on Hillside Drive near Aberdeen Mall have been fitted with the treegators because there have been issues in that area with the irrigation system.

The bags are used also for convenience — they require less manpower to fill bags and need to be filled less often. Young trees require their bags filled twice a week, but generally once every week is sufficient.

Each bag holds 15 to 25 gallons of water, depending on the size of the tree trunk. Small drainage holes in the bottom of the bags allow the water to drain out over a period of five to nine hours.

In addition the bags virtually eliminate water waste or run-off and give young trees a better chance of living through the hot, arid Kamloops summers.

“This slow release watering ensures the water is seeping down into the soil to the roots of the trees,” Purves says.

Before soil can absorb water, it must be thoroughly drenched. The hotter, or more scorched the top soil the more difficult it is for water to saturate through to the tree roots. The bags, however, keep the soil moist.

“Kamloops is not the only municipality utilizing this method of tree watering. With the current drought conditions throughout our province, there are a number of municipalities currently using tree bags for their boulevard trees,” Purves says.

Tree bags are currently being used near Aberdeen Mall, in the downtown area, on the North Shore and in Valleyview.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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