Queens Botanical Garden - Where people, plants, and cultures meet
Tree Care 101

It's simple and fun to care for street trees!  Just remember -- Water, Nurture, Protect, and Beautify.

And don't forget to sign-on and adopt your tree online!

Tools you'll need:

  • Trowel
  • Cultivator
  • Weeder
  • Gloves
  • Hose or bucket
  • Mulch
  • Trash bags
  • Flowers or bulbs (optional)
  • Compost (optional)

Water your tree

  • Your tree needs 15-20 gallons of water each week between May and October.
  • Aerate the soil around your tree with a cultivator to help water flow through the soil to the tree's roots.
  • Finding a water source can be a challenge but be creative!  Ask your neighbor, superintendent, or local business to help you by providing water for your tree.

Nurture your tree

  • Keep the area around your tree free of trash and animal waste (wear gloves!).
  • Pull up weeds growing around your tree.
  • Loosen the top 2-3" of soil around your tree to help water and air reach the roots.
  • Add mulch or compost to your tree bed.  Make sure to arrange the mulch/compost in a "donut" shape, NOT a mound or volcano shape.  Make sure that no mulch touches the trunk.
  • Add mulch or soils so that the tree bed is level with the sidewalk.  A recessed tree bed is a tripping hazard, and built up soil around the trunk can kill the tree.

Protect your tree

  • Teach your community about the importance of trees and keeping tree beds clean.
  • Consider installing a tree guard (low fence) around the tree bed to protect it from animals, foot traffic, and bicycles.
  • Place a sign near the edge of the tree bed requesting care and respect for your tree, such as a sign asking people to "Please Curb Your Dog."
  • Learn to identify signs of invasive pests, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), and report them by calling 311.

Beautify your tree

  • Plant small annuals or small bulbs around your tree.  These can bring extra beauty to your street and shows the world that your tree is loved.  Plus, the sight of wilting flowers can remind you to water your tree!
  • Don't plant ivy or woody shrubs such as bushes or roses in your tree bed.  These plants can deprive your tree of water, and vines can choke -- or girdle -- the tree.


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