Caring for new trees

If you have planted a new tree on your private property or a street tree was planted by the City in your neighbourhood, consider the following tips to help take care of them.

Street trees

Street trees are publicly owned trees planted by or on behalf of the City next to the road, sidewalk or on property along the street. They provide beauty and shade, help improve air quality, regulate water flow and add economic value to neighbourhoods.

The City considers the following when choosing the type of tree to plant in the neighbourhood:

  • Spacing standards and whether the location can fit the fully grown size of the tree
  • If the soil type is good for the tree
  • If there’s a conflict with underground or above-ground utilities
  • Tree diversity on the street and in the neighbourhood

Street trees are watered by City contractors from June to September for two years of being planted.

If a new street tree is planted near your property, you’ll receive a door-hanger notice asking for your help to care for it. You can help by doing the following:

  • Water the tree weekly or twice a week during dry periods. You can use a garden hose to water the base of the tree or insert the hose into a watering bag if it has one.
  • Don’t spray the canopy of the tree while watering it to avoid potential damage to the leaves, which can cause premature leaf drop.
  • Keep your lawn and boulevard healthy. This will help the tree get enough water.
  • Don’t remove, add or reconstruct the mulch at the base of the tree or pile soil or grass clippings on top of the wood chips.
  • Leave support stakes in place. They will be removed by the contractor within the two-year warranty period.
  • Keep grass cutting tools away from the tree trunk.

Your new tree

If you planted a new tree this year as part of the One Million Trees campaign, check out the following tips on how to take care of it to thrive.

  • Water the tree twice a week until November or when the ground freezes. 60 litres (16 gallons) of water per session is usually enough.
  • Adjust watering based on weather conditions. Water the tree less during a rainy season and more during dry and hot seasons.
  • Don’t water the tree if there’s early snowfall of if the ground is frozen.
  • Before the snowfall, wrap chicken wire or a tree guard around the stem for the first few years to prevent rabbits and rodents from causing damage. You can keep the tree guard until the tree outgrows it.
  • Create a ring of mulch around the base of your tree to nourish the soil and control soil temperatures. Avoid placing too much mulch as it can be harmful and can lead to disease, attract pests and cause the tree trunk to rot.
  • Don’t put mulch directly on the tree trunk.
  • Choose organic materials like bark, wood and leaves for your mulch to help fertilize the soil.