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Tree Watering & Care

a man watering a street tree

There are more than 75,000 street trees in Surrey and you can help take care of them by watering regularly through the summer. Thanks for keeping part of our urban forest healthy and lush!

Tree Watering Tips

  • Find out when you can water when water restrictions are in effect.
  • Water the base of the tree at least twice per week for 15 minutes.
  • Water during cooler times of the day. Trees will soak up more water when it's not warm.
  • Water slowly to soak deep into the ground to reach the roots.
  • Water even if it rains. The small amount of rain we get during dry seasons is not enough for our street trees.

Tree watering bags

Young street trees (less than twice the height of your front door, under 15 feet) need plenty of water for survival and growth. We install watering bags on over 10,000 of Surrey's young trees for summer months because it is the best way to water them during the summer.

If there is a bag on a street tree already near your house please fill it up twice a week. If you have a young street tree near your house that does not have a watering bag, you can request one by calling 604-501-5050. Thank you to everyone who fills the bags through the summer!

Cost of watering trees

If you pay your utilities annually, there will be no added charge for watering your trees all summer long.

If you're on a water-meter program, the estimated yearly cost of watering your street trees is less than $2, based on current water rates and a twice-weekly watering schedule.

The cost of replacing a dead street tree is significantly more.

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 the City street trees near your property:

  1. Mark a circle around the tree that is at least 1 metre in diameter.
  2. Remove all the grass and weeds inside your circle.
  3. Be careful not to harm the tree’s roots or the trunk.
  4. Add mulch (or soil if you wish to plant flowers), but make sure it doesn’t touch the trunk.


Mulching is one of the best things you can do to benefit the health of your tree. Mulch is any material placed over the soil in the tree well to improve soil health and moisture.

When adding mulch to your tree well:

  • Keep the mulch layer around 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) thick. Don’t use too much mulch at first, and don’t add more too often.
  • Mix new material in to 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
  • Leaves
  • Pine needles
  • Compost mixes
  • Other plant materials


You can use the tree well as a flower bed to make it look great but do not build high beds around your tree as this will damage your tree. Take care not to damage the roots when planting the flowers.