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Tree Watering

Surrey's tree watering bag program

Boulevard trees need water too! There are over 75,000 street trees in Surrey; we need your help to reach them all! Water your trees regularly during the summer to keep them healthy and lush.

Tree Watering Tips

  • Water young trees especially. Trees that are less than 15 feet tall (that's about twice the height of your front door) are still very young; water is important for their survival and growth.
  • Water trees during cooler times of the day. Trees will soak up more water when it's not warm.
  • Give enough water to soak into the roots. Water the base of your tree at least twice per week for 15 minutes (about 20 litres) each time. Go slowly to give the water time to soak down into the ground and reach the roots. If you rush, the water will flow away from the tree along the ground’s surface.
  • Water even if it rains. The small amount of rain we get in the summertime is not enough for our boulevard trees; they still need our help (especially if they are young trees).  

Tree watering bags

You may have noticed green watering bags on many of Surrey's boulevard and park shade trees. These watering bags are on 10,000 of Surrey's young trees because it is the best way to water them during the summer.

There are two ways you can help water these trees. If there is a bag on a tree already near your house please fill it up twice a week. If you have a boulevard tree near your house that does not have a watering bag, you can request one.

Please call 604-501-5050 if you interested in watering a tree near you throughout the summer.

A big thank you to everyone who has been watering a tree near them this summer - you are helping those trees grow strong and healthy.

Cost of watering trees

If you pay your utilities annually, there will be no added charge for watering your trees all summer long.

If you're on a water-meter program, the estimated yearly cost of watering your street trees is less than $2, based on current water rates and a twice-weekly watering schedule.

This is not a bad investment, considering the cost of replacing a dead street tree is $345 (tax dollars). According to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, a healthy mature street tree can increase the value of your home by $10,000 to $40,000.

Tree Wells

A tree well is a grass-free area at the base of a tree. Tree wells are great for the health of the tree because they:

  • Make it easy for water to reach the tree roots;
  • Keep the soil moist;
  • Keep weeds down; and
  • Keep lawn tools away from the trunk.

Add tree wells to your trees, including the City-planted street trees near your home.

Making a Tree Well

To make a tree well at the base of any tree, follow these instructions:

1) Mark a circle around the tree that is at least 1 metre in diameter.

2) Remove all the grass and weeds inside your circle.

3) Be careful not to harm the tree’s roots or the trunk.

4) Add mulch (or soil if you wish to plant flowers), but make sure it doesn’t touch the trunk.



Mulching is one of the best things you can do to benefit the health of your tree. Mulch is any material placed over the soil in the tree well to improve soil health and moisture.

When adding mulch to your tree well:

  • Don’t use too much mulch at first, and don’t add more too often. Keep the layer around 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) thick.
  • Don't mound the material high against the tree trunk.
  • Do mix new material in to the old mulch with a rake.

We recommend using organic mulch materials. They will need to be added to or replaced as they break down (decompose), but as they are breaking down, they add nutrients to the soil, which is great for the health of the tree. Some organic mulch materials include:

  • Bark mulch
  • Wood chips
  • Leaves
  • Pine needles
  • Compost mixes
  • Other plant materials


Use the tree well as a flower bed to make it look great but do not build high beds around your tree as this will damage your tree.  Take care not to damage the roots when planting the flowers.