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Tree Care: Watering Trees

Trees grow best when soils are moist to a depth of six inches. As a rule of thumb, it takes one inch of water to wet six inches of soil. Most of our soils have a lot of clay so they are very slow to absorb water (0.1 to 0.25 inches per hour). Contrary to popular belief, running the sprinkler system on your lawn won’t give your trees the water they need. It’s best to take a drip or soaker hose and coil it under the drip line of the tree. Turn the hose on and let it run for 20-30 minutes.

Have a New Parkway Tree?


If you receive a new parkway tree either in the Spring or in the Fall, City Forestry Staff will water the new tree(s) 2-3 times per week weather dependent.  New trees planted in the Spring (April-May) will be watered by City Staff for approximately 6 months after planting.  New trees planted in the Fall season (late September-October) will be watered through early November and then again the following Spring & Summer seasons.  Homeowners are encouraged to continue watering new trees following the initial establishment effort by the City.  If your parkway tree appears thirsty, homeowners may take the initiative to take a hose and water the tree or place a “gator bag” around the trunk and fill the bag.  Should you feel the need to use a gator bag you may fill the bag once every 2 weeks.  Note:  If we have a season with high volumes of rain, we request that you limit your watering so that the new trees are not oversaturated with water.

If using a gator bag, lift the white “Treegator” tag to expose the hole in the bag, then insert a hose to fill the bag with water.  Once the gator bag has been removed (6-12 month after planting) you may continue to water the tree twice a month on a yearly basis during growing seasons.  Slow watering by a hose placed at the base of the tree is essential to the health of the tree.

For any questions about your new parkway tree or watering practices, please contact the Public Services Division at 630-377-4405. 

updated Jun 06, 2018