Caring for Right-of-Way Trees

Water your new tree

New Tree Care Tips

To help ensure the success of your new street tree please follow these guidelines:

  • For trees planted in the spring, water with five gallons of water at the base of the tree twice a week until October 31. Fall tree plantings will need to be watered according to the instructions above unless the tree is planted in a dormant state. 
  • A good watering is applied slowly with a soaker hose or a hose on a slow trickle.
  • Water once a week during the first two summers. Then water once a month the next two summers. If it has rained at least 1” during the week, watering is not necessary. Water deeply so the water can soak down to the depth of the root system. The soil should be moist but not soggy.
  • If you decide to use mulch, maintain a 3-inch thick mulch/wood chip ring around the base of the tree and not touching the trunk. Mulch piled up against the trunk, “mulch volcanoes,” can kill the tree. A mulch ring will help retain soil moisture, improve soil quality, impede weeds and protect the tree from weed whip/ mower damage.
  • Avoid spraying any broad-leaf weed killers near the base of the tree.
  • Keep weed whips/lawn mowers away from the trunk. Weed whip/ lawn mowers hitting the trunk can cause death due to repeated trunk injury. 
  • IT IS IMPORTANT to remove the stakes used to stabilize your new tree after the first year.

If the new tree doesn't leaf out or shows signs of failing, property owners should call DPS at 248-246-3300 and an arborist will come out to evaluate it.