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The Tree Musketeers' network of volunteers save hundreds of trees in Hackney from drought damage

Remember to water your little trees: they need all the water they can get. Spells of heavy rain help them enormously; and when dry weather returns, the best time to water them again is while the ground is still damp - and to keep it that way.

Spring is a really important time to water: when the leaf buds are beginning to burst. If trees get a good start then, they'll cope much better with hot summer weather.

Established trees and plants will quickly absorb much of the ground water so, if you can give new ones a boost, it will really help them establish. Priorities are all new standards - whether in parks or on streets - and last year's new trees: 20 litres a week (or a day, if you can manage it!).


When filling a root-drencher (the black, grey or green box between the tree and the stake) using a 5- or 10-litre water bottle, it’s not always easy to pour the contents into the hole. A filling tube makes the job very much easier. The diagram (below left) shows the set-up.

Make the tube from a length of 40mm-diameter waste pipe. It needs to be long enough to go into the hole in the top of the root-drencher and project about 50mm outside the guard. Cut one end of the tube at angle of about 45 degrees so it can be adjusted to present the best opening for emptying the bottle into.

Attach a hook (made from a bent piece of galvanised garden wire) to the upper end of the filling tube with a plastic cable tie and a rubber band. These hold the hook securely while allowing its position to be adjusted. (see detail photo below right). Alternatively, simply fit a cable tie to the lower end of the tube, and leave the end of the tie uncut so as to prevent the tube from slipping into the root-drencher.

The hook fits round one of the horizontal wires on the tree guard to support it while you pour the water – either resting on it (as in the diagram) or hanging beneath it. The hook also prevents the tube from slipping into the root-drencher.


The Tree Care Guide (pdf): A Simple Handbook for Nurturing Young Trees was written by Russell Miller and published as part of the Hackney Tree Carer Scheme in London. It aims to support the hundreds of volunteers involved in tree care in Hackney.

Many people do not realise that newly planted trees need three to five years aftercare. Left alone, new trees struggle to get enough water and nutrients. However, with regular watering and mulching they grow quickly. This is where you come in. You will be amazed how fast a tree will respond to a little attention.  Tree guards, stakes and ties also need monitoring and occasional attention.

The guide contains:

  • Information on how trees improve the environment
  • Quick tree care tips
  • Guidance on planting and maintenance of trees in your neighbourhood
  • Useful contacts


A Veteran tree is a tree which is of particular value to wildlife due to damage, decay or old age. During 2009 over 170 old trees in Abney Park Cemetery Nature Reserve were surveyed and 60 were found to have veteran characteristics. Thirty of the more vulnerable veterans were chosen for the project. Read more in the second edition (2013) of the Abney Veteran Tree Leaflet.


Community orchards have been planted on a number of green spaces in Hackney.
Links will be added to the names in the following list, as and when we produce plans of the fruit trees there.


  • Hackney Downs Trees (pdf) The Tree Musketeers have prepared a map of the trees  with photos and descriptions of some of the more unusual trees.  There is also a large-scale map inside the Park Information Office in the centre of the Downs.
  • Springfield Park - The proprietor of Springfield Park Café has produced a printed leaflet of the trees in the park which is available, free of charge, in the café.
  • Stoke Newington Common trees (pdf) The map appears on three noticeboards on the Common.


Last Updated: 20th June 2018

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