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#KnoxvilleJobWellDone: Kenny Dockins Protects City's Growing Investments 
Horticulture Water Truck

On a cool May afternoon, Kenny Dockins drives his water tank truck onto Waterfront Road in Suttree Landing Park and pulls up alongside a Bald Cypress. 

Kenny Dockins

He checks the tree on his list, sets the timer in his pocket for four minutes and points the water hose at the tree’s base to give it an 8- to 10-gallon drink. 

Kenny Dockins

Dockins has worked for the City of Knoxville for 11 years, all of them in the Urban Forestry division. His role is watering the City’s newest trees --those the City has planted during the past two years -- in parks, rights of way, and other locations all over Knoxville. 

Watering the trees for the first two years after planting, Dockins explains, gives the roots a regular source of water and the resources to grow out of the burlap ball and into the surrounding earth. A strong root system will help the tree, once it’s established, rely on regular cycles of seasonal rainfall and be able to weather the occasional drought. 

Bald Cypress

The Bald Cypresses here in the park have grown about three feet since they were planted a year ago; they cost around $300 each, he says. Dockins’ care protects the City’s investment in its tree inventory, which in turn is an investment in the city’s environment and overall health. The types and locations of all City trees -- its tree inventory -- are mapped at TreeKeeper

His toolkit includes a soil core sampler that he can use to monitor the moisture that's reaching the tree's critical root system. 

core test

core results

After watering 17 trees in the City’s newest park, Dockins’ to-water list will take him to other locations in South Knoxville, including along Sevier Avenue and in Sam Duff Park. 

And when he’s finished watering the 900 trees trees in his care, he’ll begin all over again. 

That’s a Knoxville Job Well Done. 

Posted by ptravis On 16 May, 2021 at 5:51 PM