Tree Planting, Care & Maintenance

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You are now part of a growing number of citizens helping to create a cooler and greener future for The City Beautiful. By following these instructions, you will be able to give your tree a long, healthy life.

For help from the City with tree trimming and removal, please visit the Permits & Tree Trimming for more information.

Planting

  • Place your tree using the Right Tree, Right Place guidelines

 

  • Plant your tree within the first few days of receiving your tree.

Water

  • Water your tree daily for the first two months, then follow the schedule below. Only increase frequency during dry periods.
    • 1-2 months: daily
    • 2-6 months: 3 x times per week
    • 6-12 months: 2 x per week
    • 12-18 months: 1 x per week
  • Don’t let the soil around your tree dry out.
  • Fill the ring of soil around your until the water doesn’t drain immediately. Approximately five gallons per one inch caliper.
  • Maintain the soil ring around your tree for six months
  • Keep the soil and mulch away from the stem of the tree to ensure you are watering the roots.
  • Use a hose to soak the soil around your tree thoroughly or add a bubbler to an existing irrigation system.
  • Sprinklers alone will not provide enough water.

Stake

  • If necessary, your tree was staked when planted. Loosen the straps if they begin cutting into the trunk. After six months, remove the stakes and straps completely.
  • Don’t put rope or wires around the trunk or branches; they will injure the bark.

Fertilize

  • Wait three months after planting to fertilize.
  • Use a slow release fertilizer at a rate of 1/4 – 1/2 lbs per inch of trunk diameter evenly in the drip line.
  • Don’t use a fertilizer with a weed killer near the drip line.

Prune

  • Pruning is not recommended until your tree has been planted for one year.
  • Encourage a single, central trunk in standard trees and three to five main trunks in multi-stemmed trees such as crepe myrtles.
  • Don’t “top” your tree, including crape myrtle. Topping will cause V-shaped crotches and other weak growth to develop.
  • Remove branches that cross over and touch other branches or the trunk.
  • Prune off the sprouts from the trunk.
  • branchcollarWhen removing a branch, leave the branch collar (the swelling at the base of a branch) attached to the trunk.
  • Don’t use a string trimmer or lawn mower to remove sprouts. Machinery can damage the trunk.

Mulch

  • Using mulch (pine bark or pine straw) around your tree will retain moisture, reduce weeds, and avoid damage to the trunk.
  • Don’t apply more than a two inch thickness of mulch. You must keep mulch two to four inches away from the base of the tree.
  • Keep grass and weeds at least two feet away from the tree by maintaining the mulched area.
  • The larger the mulch ring the better for the tree. The minimum is two to three feet.
  • Trees that die due to owner neglect will not be replaced.

Tree Removal

Unfortunately, there are times when a tree must be removed due to its health or safety implications. If this is the case, a tree removal permit must be obtained from the Parks Division.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding tree removal or trimming, please call the Parks Division at 407.246.2514.

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