A hand holding a hose watering a tree well.

Learn how to keep trees healthy and help care for Surrey’s street trees.

Watering Tips

  • Find out when water restrictions are in effect.
  • Water slowly to let the water soak deep into the ground. This encourages a healthy root system.
  • Water even if it rains. The small amount of rain we get during dry seasons is not enough for trees.

If you're on a water meter program, the estimated yearly cost of watering a street tree is less than one cup of coffee.

Watering Young Street Trees

Illustration of a person filling up a watering bag on a tree.
Young street tree with watering bag

Young street trees need lots of water to survive and grow. We put watering bags on thousands of young street trees in Surrey because it is the most effective way to water them. Once filled, the water slowly releases through small holes in the bag over 4 to 6 hours.

If a street tree near your home has a watering bag, you can help by filling it twice per week. If there is a young street tree near your home without a watering bag, you can request one by calling 604-501-5050.

Watering Older Street Trees

Older trees need water too. They have a more developed root system and soak up water at their drip line (the  tree's outermost edge or where rain would drip off of their longest branches) where their roots are.

For older trees, water the base of the tree with a slow-running hose twice a week for 15 minutes or use a watering bucket. You can also use a soaker hose coiled around the drip line.

Illustration of tree showing drip line with watering bucket.
Mature street tree with watering bucket at the drip line

Use a Watering Bucket

  1. Drill a few small holes (<1 centimeter) in the bottom of a bucket.
  2. Place the bucket on the ground at the drip line.
  3. Fill with water.
  4. Let the water slowly drain.
  5. Move the bucket one big step to your left or right (~60cm).
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you’ve gone all the way around the tree.
  7. Repeat two times a week.

If you'd like a free watering bucket, call 604-501-5050 or email parks@surrey.ca. 

Tree Wells & Mulch

Adding mulch to the area around the base of the tree (a tree well) helps keep the soil moist. Mulch also helps keep weeds away and prevents lawn tools, like line trimmers, from accidentally hitting the trunk. Don’t make a “mulch volcano"—a mound of mulch touching the tree trunk. This harms trees and traps moisture against the tree’s bark, leading to many tree health issues. 

Add tree wells to your trees—including street trees:

  1. Mark a circle around the tree base that is at least 1 metre in diameter.
  2. Remove any grass, weeds, and rocks inside the circle.
  3. Add 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) of mulch in the circle.

You can also beautify your tree well by adding soil instead of mulch and planting flowers. Please do not build high beds around the tree.

We recommend using organic mulch materials including:

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

Read the mulch application guidelines for more information.

Thank you for helping care for Surrey's street trees!