Guide to Watering Trees and Applying Mulch

Categories: Parks & Forestry

Please water the trees in the boulevard in front of your home when you are watering other trees on your property. Watering is especially important for recently planted trees during hot and dry times.

Soak the soil beneath the tree, out to the outermost ends of the branches, for an hour or so every week. For smaller, younger trees, you may not have to water as long, but during hot days you may have to water them more often. Give the soil time to dry out a little before watering again.

Watering these trees is very inexpensive, but the benefits of a healthy tree in front of your home are great. If you have a two-inch diameter street tree in front of your home, for example, the tree would need about twenty gallons of water each week. Watering such a tree should cost you less than a nickel each time you water.


In addition to watering, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your trees is to apply mulch around them. Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to help conserve moisture, improve soil conditions, and even protect the tree. Some examples of mulch are wood chips and shredded bark. A layer of mulch 3-4 inches deep, but not touching the tree trunk, should be applied as broadly as practical around the tree. Free mulch is available to the City of Sheboygan residents for pickup at the City of Sheboygan recycling center.

If you keep the tree watered, a layer of mulch will help retain moisture. Mulch can also improve soil structure and aeration, keep roots cool in summer and insulated in winter, and help retard weed growth. By limiting weed growth around the base of the tree, you limit the chances of weed whackers and/or lawnmowers damaging the bark and opening the tree to decay, insects, and disease. Repeated injuries from these tools can completely girdle a tree and kill it.

Tree with too much mulch.

The wrong way to Mulch: The mulch around this tree is piled up much too high. A steep "Mulch Volcano" has been created around the tree. 

Tree with proper mulch.

The Right Way To Mulch: The Mulch around this tree is only 3-4 inches deep, and has been spread out broadly, and not piled against the tree trunk.

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