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We need a tree-mendous watering effort

Call it the Million Tree Parch.

Summer’s scorching temperatures have been tough for Brooklynites to take — but even harder on Brooklyn’s defenseless street trees. So last week, the Parks Department gathered a bunch of kids, and at least one oak of a politician, and begged residents to grab a bucket of water and hydrate nearby saplings that have been planted as part of the city’s Million Trees initiative.

During the summer, trees need as much as 20 gallons of water per week to survive the heat, and the Parks Department can’t get to all of them.

“It’s been a dry spell and we want everyone to water trees in front of his or her home,” said Julius Spiegel, the agency’s Brooklyn commissioner. “We’ll take care of the trees in the park.”

In Brooklyn, there are more than 500,000 trees, about one per five people to care for, so there are plenty of people to look after thirsty oaks and maples.

Last Friday morning, three dozen Greenpoint students showed the borough how it’s done, filling up buckets of water with a hose and sprinkling several tree pits on Russell Street near McGolrick Park with water out of brass watering cans. Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) showed off his watering style, too.

Parks staffer Marty Maher was dispensing advice to amateur horticulturalists and tree-huggers alike to keep trees going during the long, hot summer. If you don’t have a hose or a watering can, said Maher, “get a garbage can and poke some holes in it” — that’s how you water it Brooklyn-style.

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