Caring for Street Trees

Our volunteer tree stewards help us keep our street trees healthy and strong for generations to come. Learn some basic and advanced tree care activities that you can do to help our urban forest.

Tree stewards care for a street tree

Become a Tree Steward

It's easy to become a tree steward! We host volunteers all year long. We can train you in basic activities such as watering trees, adding mulch and soil, and removing weeds and litter; as well as advanced activities such as installing a tree guard, expanding tree beds, and installing or removing stone or brick pavers.

NYC Parks Stewardship

Basic Tree Care Activities


Watering is the most important thing you can do for your street tree.

Tree Care Tips: Watering


If weeds are left untended, they will ultimately kill some plants and stress others. Thus weeds should be removed from greenstreets and street tree pits as frequently as possible.

Tree Care Tips: Weeds and Weeding


Keeping a site free of litter not only ensures its place as a community asset, it reduces the amount of stress placed on the plant.

Tree Care Tips: Trash and Animal Waste

Planting Vegetation

When planted with a tree's health in mind, perennials, annuals and bulbs are beautiful additions to a tree pit.

Tree Care Tips: Planting Flowers and Shrubs


Signs within a tree bed can inform your community about issues of dog waste or show off your commitment to helping your street tree grow.

Tree Care Tips: Installing a Sign

Mulch and Soil Cultivation

Adding a layer of mulch suppresses weed growth and helps insulate tree roots.

Tree Care Tips: Mulch, Compost, and Soil Maintenance

Advanced Tree Care Activities

Before you perform any of these activities on a street tree, please make sure that you have a Tree Work Permit.

Tree Guards

Installing a tree guard around the perimeter of a tree bed can help protect a tree from the surrounding urban environment.

Tree Care Tips: Tree Guards

Tree Bed Modification

Removing constricting concrete and maintaining soil levels can keep our sidewalks safe and our city’s trees healthy.

Tree Care Tips: Tree Bed Modifications

Planting A Tree

A permit must be submitted and approved before planting a tree in an empty tree bed.

Street Tree Planting

Removing Trees

A permit must be submitted and approved before removing any street tree.

Dead Tree and Stump Removal

Pruning a Tree

Our street trees are pruned annually on a neighborhood–by–neighborhood basis. If you would like to learn how to prune trees yourself, you may attend a Citizen Pruner course offered by Trees New York. Visit our Tree Pruning page to learn more.