Thursday, April 7, 2016

To water or not to water? Tips to care for your tree this spring

A combination of above-average seasonal temperatures and a dry winter might have you wondering: How do I care for my trees in the spring?

In dry spring-like weather conditions you can help Calgary trees in two ways:


With trees beginning to leaf-out, they could all benefit from an extra drink of water now – it’s hard work budding all those leaves.
Generally, newly planted and/or young trees, under two years old, require more frequent watering. During extended periods of dry conditions all trees benefit from some extra watering.

Watering tips:

  • Before watering, check your soil moisture. Using your hands, loosen the soil around the trunk to get an idea of how dry the soil is.
  • Ensure the flow coming from your garden hose is a slow trickle to allow the soil enough time to absorb water. 
  • Always water your tree at the root. Tree roots can be found away from the trunk under the drip line, which is the spot where rain falls down from the branch to the ground.
  • Only apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10 inches or more for mature trees, approximately 30 minutes at a slow trickle. 
  • Avoid over-watering. A good indication of over-watering is if you see water begin to run-off the surface. 


Try adding some mulch around your tree.  Mulching helps trees retain water, moderates soil temperature and reduces grass and weeds from growing around tree trunks. Here’s more info on how to mulch.

Looking for mulch materials? Head to any City landfill between now and May 29th for free mulch – just bring a shovel and your own containers or bags!    

For tips and information swing by our ReTree YYC booth this weekend at the Calgary Horticultural Garden Show April 9 and 10 or you can visit

If you have questions or concerns about a City-owned tree please contact 311 via mobile app or by phone.

Submitted by Arthur McComish, Parks


  1. Timing is perfect for this article - I was just wondering, should I water....

  2. Not many people realize the maintenance that goes into caring for trees. Thanks for sharing these tips on watering and mulching.

  3. Great information shared! Very necessary to take care of your trees in all types of season.

  4. Greta information! I agree with this. I have been a licensed arborist for years now, and a lot of people see us as simply people that take down dead trees, but I try and educate people like you are doing here that my career has mainly been geared towards helping care for the horticulture. Great information!

  5. I appreciate your efforts for sharing great information with us.