Tree Watering & Care
Learn how to keep your trees healthy all summer long.
There are more than 75,000 street trees in Surrey and you can help care for them by watering and maintaining a tree well. Please do not prune city street trees. Keeping our urban forest healthy provides many benefits to Surrey, so thanks for helping out!
Water Street Trees
- Find out when water restrictions are in effect.
- Water the base of the tree at least twice per week for 15 minutes.
- Water slowly to soak deep into the ground. This encourages a healthy root system.
- Water during cooler times of the day. Trees will soak up more water when it's cooler.
- Water even if it rains. The small amount of rain we get during dry seasons is not enough for our street trees.
If you're on a water meter program, the estimated yearly cost of watering a street tree is less than $2.
Watering young street trees
Young street trees (under 15 feet tall, or less than twice the height of a door) need plenty of water for survival and growth. We install watering bags on thousands of Surrey's young trees because it is the best way to water them. Once filled, the water releases through small holes in the bag over 4-6 hours.
If there is a bag on a street tree near your home, you can fill it up twice per week. If you have a young street tree near your home that does not have a watering bag, you can request one by calling 604-501-5050.
Watering mature street trees
Mature trees also benefit from water during the summer. Water at the dripline, the ground at the outer edges of the tree's canopy. You can use a soaker hose coiled around the dripline, or drill small holes in the bottom of a bucket, fill it, and then rotate it around the dripline.
Maintain Tree Wells
A tree well is a grass-free area at the base of a tree. Tree wells are great for trees because they:
- Make it easy for water to reach the tree roots.
- Keep the soil moist.
- Keep weeds down.
- Keep lawn tools away from the trunk.
Add tree wells to your trees, including street trees near your home:
- Mark a circle around the tree that is at least 1 metre in diameter.
- Remove all the grass and weeds inside your circle.
- Add mulch (or soil if you wish to plant flowers), but make sure it doesn’t touch the trunk.
Be careful not to harm the tree’s roots or the trunk. You can beautify your tree well by planting flowers, but do not build high beds around the tree.
Mulching is one of the best things you can do to benefit the health of a tree. Mulch is a loose organic material placed around the tree that improves soil moisture and helps prevent accidental trimmer damage by keeping grass away from the tree.
When adding mulch to a tree well:
- Keep the mulch layer around 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) thick. Don’t use too much mulch at first, and don’t add more too often.
- Mix new material into old mulch with a rake.
- Don't mound the material high against the tree trunk.
We recommend using organic mulch materials including:
- Bark mulch
- Wood chips
- Pine needles
- Compost mixes
- Other plant materials