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Brussels trees ask for water themselves

30 July 2020

Trees need water, everyone knows that. Not too much and not too little, but not everyone knows where the threshold lies. Nonetheless, this is necessary for healthy trees: after all, too much or too little water and the tree is done for.

The Brussels-Capital Region wanted to do something about this. The hundreds of trees along the regional roads are regularly watered in the first three years, as young specimens. This is essential to assure their growth and to ensure they become self-sufficient in terms of water. After that, trees received water in a standard way, whether or not they needed it.

In order to improve this, both for the trees and for those responsible for watering them, Brussels Mobility came up with a solution. Newly planted trees are equipped with smart technology for optimum monitoring of their watering. This is made possible through checks by sensors and tensiometric probes, which monitor the soil's moisture level and the trees' water requirement, depending on their physiology and the climate, and on the amount of water available in the soil. Data is then sent through to an application that proceeds to send out notifications, with watering sessions being planned based on this.

This year, around 560 trees have benefitted from this technology and additional projects are currently in development. Ultimately, the intention is for each of the 32,000 trees along the regional roads and in public spaces to be using this system. Several examples that were recently implemented or are planned for the short term are Chaussée de Mons, Square Pol Bury, Porte de Hal, Drève Olympique, Boulevard du Régent and Boulevard Henri Simonet.

As it happens, using a cartographic management system with geolocation, the characteristics and status of each of those 32,000 trees along the regional roads and in public spaces can also be monitored. This increases the efficiency of the monitoring and maintenance considerably.

This automated care for our trees, along with smart technologies, can only be good for Brussels' trees, and Brussels will become an even greener region – and smarter, to boot – that offers everyone the best.
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