What Is Basic Tree Care?

We focus on three key tasks to improve the health and lifespan of urban trees: Watering, Mulching, and Clearance Pruning. Mulching and watering are critical to new trees’ survival; clearance pruning prevents damage.


A good layer of mulch is one of the best things for a young tree.

Mulch retains moisture, reduces weeds, and protects roots from both mowers and extreme heat.

Free mulch is provided by the City of St. Louis year round.

 Spread a 2-4″ layer of mulch in a ‘donut’ shape around the tree, not a mound or ‘volcano’. More info


Many factors influence trees’ water needs. Make it a habit to poke the soil nearby every few days; if it is dry, apply water. How much? Aim for 5+ gallons.

There are many ways to water a tree! Some ideas: 


    • DIY 5-gallon bucket soaker
    • Large water tank in a vehicle
    • Garden Hose/sprinkler for 15 minutes a week
    • 18" Tree DiaperWatering can, milk/juice jugs, or 5 gallon bucket
    • Watering (Gator) Bags

Whatever you use, water slowly so it soaks into the soil!

Forestry plants trees with Tree Diapers. These help retain rainfall and should be left in place under mulch.

Clearance Pruning

Only Forestry Division approved volunteers may clearance prune.

Clearance pruning removes low branches over sidewalks and streets that otherwise become hazards and often end up torn or broken off.

All other pruning must be done by Forestry or a licensed arborist with a Permit to Maintain.

Tree Care Classes are available from a variety of organizations including Forest ReLeaf which hosts annual TreeKeeper trainings.

For more info or to borrow equipment, contact info@stltreelc.org.

STL TreeLC is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, tax ID #87-0997806.