Tree Care


Water your tree thoroughly with approximately 20 gallons, or hand water by running a hose at low pressure for 20 minutes. A tree needs approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter. Boston's new street trees are typically 2 inches in size. During really hot weather, your tree will need 30 gallons of water each week, applied in 2 separate waterings: 15 gallons one day and 15 gallons a few days later. Please pour the water slowly into the pipe-grate. Cultivating or digging up the top 3 inches of the pit can help with infiltration of water. This helps lessen compaction can keeps the pit looking clean. A 3" layer of mulch will help the soil to stay moist and will also help prevent weeds  


Loose, coarse mulch should be applied to a depth of 3 inches, at least 3 inches from the tree trunk. The improper application ofmulch can lead to several tree problems: root rot (soil can become waterlogged leading to low levels of oxygen in the soil); disease (deep and moist layers of mulch are attractive habitat for various diseases and insects); and water stress (a thick layer of mulch can act as an impervious surface, inhibiting the flow of water to the root zone). Please read "Mulch Out, Not Up" for more details: Mulch Out, Not Up (Jay Banks, Leesburg, VA)

Signs of Drought Stress

Note wilting leaves. The first signs of wilt appear in the afternoon, when the weather is hottest and driest, and may disappear at night. Wilting will occur in some plants with adequate soil moisture on hot, dry days. So, wait until the morning before irrigating Leaves change color: Droughts favor anthocyanin formation (red pigment in leaves) due to the indirect effects of soil water deficiency upon the metabolism of the plants. Leaves also turn yellow during prolonged dry periods.


Weeds can rob trees of value nutrients and moisture in a situation that is already tough to live in. Weeding removes competition and allows the tree to better survive in a tough urban setting. Removing weeds also means there is less ground clutter for trash to get caught in and makes the tree more noticeable. Remove trash and animal waste from around trees.


Planting small annuals, perennials, and bulbs can actually benefit trees. However it is important to not plant any species that will grow too large. When planting use small plants so that you only disturb the top few inches of soil. Never add more than 2 inches of soil to the pit. Adding too much soil around the tree can actually suffocate the roots. Never plant ivy, vines, woody shrubs, or evergreens! If you have any questions regards plant selection, please contact (617) 635-PARK.