Caring for City Street Trees

How residents can help newly planted City trees survive with a little maintenance and care

Every planting season, while the trees are dormant, the City of Saint Louis will plant many trees in parks and easements around the city. Please help us ensure that these newly planted trees take hold during their first critical three years.

When there appears to be an issue with a street or park tree, please let us know so that we can send a certified arborist out to inspect the tree.

Help the Tree Through Dry Periods

  • If there’s been no substantial rain (over 1/4”) for two weeks, water the tree twice a week.
  • If there’s been no substantial rain (over 1/4”) for one week and the temperatures are over 80 degrees, water the tree three times a week.
  • If there’s been no substantial rain (over 1/4”) in cool periods longer than three weeks, water the tree once within the three-week window.

Water the Tree

To water a tree, apply 10-15 gallons of water to the ground over the root ball of the tree.

Water slowly to allow water to soak into the ground over the top of the root ball from the trunk to approximately 16 inches out from the trunk of the tree.

Mulch the Tree

  • Keep mulch 3-4 inches thick.
  • Keep 6” away from tree trunks.
  • Mulch helps retain moisture.
  • Mulch reduces competition from grasses and other weeds.
  • Mulch helps keep soil temperature from fluctuating.
  • Mulch helps protect trees from mechanical injury.

Water Retention Bag

If the tree was planted with a water retention bag, please keep mulch covering the bag. The water retention bag extends the time moisture is kept over the root ball and helps reduce competition of grass and other weeds for the water the tree requires.

General Facts

Watering is critical for the first three years of a transplanted tree for re-establishment. Ideally, gradually reducing the amount of watering the tree per year.

DO NOT water the tree every day. Completely saturate the soil then allow time for the soil to dry out, permitting oxygen to reach the root system.

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