Help a young street tree get established

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The Urban Forest

Increasing Boston's urban forest will benefit city residents through environmental and aesthetic improvements. City trees enrich the lives of all residents by providing many benefits, including: beautification of city streets, providing a respite on hot summer days, improved air and water quality, and offsetting our carbon emissions.

Boston currently has 29% tree canopy coverage across the city's many neighborhoods. Greenovate Boston and the Grow Boston Greener campaign aim to increase Boston's tree canopy to 35% by 2030.

The City is planting a lot of new trees each year, but newly planted trees have a difficult time getting established in a tough urban environment. With your help, the City of Boston's young street trees have a better chance of survival.

In order to help the young street trees reach a mature state, the City needs help from individuals, businesses, and organizations. Continue reading to learn how you can help Boston's urban forest grow!

Tree Care Tips

By helping to water and care for a young street tree, you can help build a healthy tree canopy on your street. Some quick tips are listed below, but be sure to download the tree care guide for more detailed advice.

Water Weekly
Newly planted trees should be watered from May to October. They need 10 gallons once a week and twice as much in hot months like July and August. As a young tree, your adopted tree should have a "gator bag" around it - a green bag around the trunk of the tree. Fill it to the brim! Water the tree all at once during the week, instead of in bits.

Tend to the Tree Pit
Four tips:

  1. Tree pits need to be cleared of trash and animal waste. Dog urine is especially bad for the tree because it leads to a chemical imbalance in the soil!
  2. The top three inches of soil should be loosened. But don't go below three inches, which might damage the tree roots!
  3. A thin layer of mulch will help keep the tree roots moist, and protect the tree from the elements. Mulch out, not up, in a donut shape around the tree.
  4. In the spring, sweep away mulch that hasn't decomposed to get rid of the winter salt that can get stuck in the soil. Rinse the tree trunk with water.


  • Placing a protective barrier around the tree pit will help to contain mulch and keep people and pets from walking across the tree pit.
  • Keep an eye out for invasive insects like the Asian Long-horned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer

Helpful Tools
Some helpful tools include: a shovel, soil cultivator, gardening gloves, hose or watering can.

Tree care workshops will be offered in the spring and fall through the Boston Natural Areas Network.

Download Tree Care Guide

Get Connected:

The organizations listed below have a common goal of Growing Boston Greener. Connect with organizations in your community to learn more about other ways to help green your neighborhood. Those marked with a * are Adopt-a-Tree pilot communites/pilot organizations for Fall of 2013.

Back Bay
Jamaica Plain
South Boston*

To become an ambassador organization email

Adopt a Tree

Are you ready to help a newly planted street tree get established in your neighborhood? Use the map to help you locate a young street tree near you! Then click the Adopt Your Tree button below to make a commitment to care for your tree by watering it weekly and tending to the tree pit. Can't find your tree? Click Add a New Tree at the bottom. Our three pilot neighborhoods are South Boston, Mattapan, and Roslindale, where adopters will be supported by our neighborhood partners: Boston Natural Areas Network, Roslindale Green and Clean and Greening Rozzie, and Southie Trees. Be sure that it's a street/sidewalk tree planted by the City of Boston and a young tree that needs your help!

This map includes City of Boston tree plantings from 2008-present.

Request a Tree! Check that the location meets the street tree requirements then request a tree planting by calling the Park Line at (617) 635-PARK.

Share That You Care

Show others how you are helping Boston's urban forest grow!

Send in Your Pictures

Send in a picture of you and your tree. Make sure the picture shows the beautifully maintained tree pit and your watering method of choice. Inspire others with your creativity. Email your pictures to

Adopt a Tree - @

Thank you for your interest in caring for a young street tree. With your help this young tree will thrive in its new urban environment.

Your Information

Tree Information


By adopting this tree, I am making a commitment to:

  • Water weekly
  • Tend to the tree pit
I may also choose to plant small flowers in the tree pit and provide a tree guard for protection.
I understand that this tree and the tree pit remain the property of the City of Boston.