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Tree care in Calgary


Trees planted in urban conditions face many challenges such as poor soil, extreme weather, tree diseases and lack of nutrients but we're committed to helping them adapt to life in our city.

What is The City doing for our trees and urban forests?

The City takes a number of steps to ensure that City-owned trees are properly watered and cared for. The majority of our trees are planted in the spring, which ensures they get a full growing season to become established. Young trees are often equipped with green water bags that allow moisture to gradually soak into the ground around the root system to help them grow, and water trucks with non-potable water are used to do supplemental watering when needed.

What can I do?

The City recommends the following tree care tips to homeowners and citizens:

  • Wait to water - if the ground is no longer frozen, and if tree buds are starting to swell, this is a good time to water trees.
  • Watering priority - should be given to older, mature trees and to newly planted trees, about one to three years-old.
  • Apply one inch (2.5 cm) of water throughout the root system of the tree when natural rainfall does not occur.
  • Water trees infrequently but deeply so that the root system is encouraged to move deeper into the soil and not remain at the surface where is it susceptible to drying conditions.
  • Plant native tree species – these trees and plants are adapted to Calgary's climate and require less water than other species.
  • Use mulch or grass clippings around the base of trees to retain moisture. When placing mulch, spread it to the drip line at minimum and no more than two to three inches deep. Leave a couple of inches of space between the tree trunk and the mulch to avoid creating opportunity for pests and diseases to impact the tree.
  • Collect rain in a rain barrel. Plants like this softer, warmer, natural water better than treated water and you'll feel good about helping to reduce demand on Calgary's rivers.
  • Water in the morning. Use a sprinkler timer and set it for first thing in the morning. You won't forget to turn off the water, and it won't evaporate in the heat of the day.

For more lawn and garden tips, see our YardSmart section.