Tree Care and Maintenance

Tree Maintenance

Trees benefit everyone by:

  • Purifying the air we breathe
  • Reducing the effects of pollution
  • Increasing property values
  • Creating and enhancing wildlife habitats
  • Reducing heating and cooling costs on your home

Caring for your Boulevard Tree

The trees planted on your street were carefully chosen to provide shade, windbreaks and privacy; attract birds and wildlife; and beautify your neighbourhood. Help keep your street trees healthy by following these tips:

  • Do not trim the tree-the city will trim the tree as it matures
  • Keep lawn mowers and string trimmers away from tree trunks to avoid damaging the bark, which can eventually kill a tree.
  • Do not excavate around the base of your tree--you can easily damage the tree's small feeder roots at the surface of the lawn.
  • Leave wood chips and mulch at the base of the tree in place--they protect the tree from damage and reduce water loss by allowing water and nutrients to enter the soil more easily.
  • Do not pile soil or grass clippings over mulch or woodchips.
  • Water slowly and deeply using a soaker hose or a sprinkler to encourage the tree's roots to grow deep, protecting it from drought.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn and boulevard.

Watering Young Street Trees

The goal is moist soil as far as 8 to 12 inches below the surface..

  • For the first three years, young trees need weekly watering from mid-April to mid-October.
  • Probe your soil below the surface before watering. If the soil feels moist and sticky, allow it to dry for several more days before watering. If the soil feels dry and crumbly, water deeply once a week..
  • Water deeply by setting your hose on a slow trickle at the base of the tree or use a soaker hose around the tree. On average, your tree will need 15 gallons of water per week.
  • Remember that lawn watering will not replace the need to deeply water young trees.

Mulching Young Trees

The City of Woodstock places mulch around the new street tree which creates a healthy environment. Do not mulch directly around the trunk. Please follow the next guidelines.

  • Remember the 4 x 4 x 4 rule: spread mulch in a 4-foot diameter around the tree, 4 inches away from the trunk, and 4 inches deep.
  • Mulch will keep soil temperatures cool, retain water, and discourage weeds. It will slowly decompose and should be replenished as needed during the first three growing years.
  • Fertilizer is not recommended at planting time. Trees come with enough fertilizer from the nursery, and over time mulch will provide new nutrients to the tree.
  • Bonemeal is an acceptable fertilizer when used as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid using " weed and feed " fertilizers. They contain herbicides that can damage or kill young trees.


All pruning will be done by the City of Woodstock Parks Department staff. Any damages done to a street tree by a homeowner pruning may include a fine or the full cost of the removal and replacement of the tree. More information on pruning can be found below.

Weeding and Protecting

Keeping your tree out of harm's way

  • Weeds and grass compete with trees for water and nutrients. They are also allelopathic (they produce a chemical which inhibits other plant growth, including trees).
  • Do not use weed trimmers or lawn mowers near the base of trees. Hand-pull weeds instead. When the thin bark of a young tree is injured, the bark will split and die back. This can cause diseases and unwanted pests, resulting in decay or death.
  • For optimal tree growth and health keep a four foot circle around your young tree clear of grass, weeds, or other plant life.

City Responsibility for Boulevard Trees

Damaged or diseased trees

If you notice a municipal tree is damaged or diseased, please contact the Forestry section at the Parks and Recreation Dept. 


Municipal property

The City of Woodstock prunes trees on municipal properties only. If you notice newly planted trees that require attention (eg. have broken stakes), please contact the Forestry section at the number or email at the bottom of the page.

Pruning trees on neighbouring private property

The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners. The city has no jurisdiction with respect to such issues. Therefore, it is best for property owners to come to an agreement between themselves with respect to trees overhanging property lines. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may want to consult a lawyer to determine your legal rights.

If pruning branches from your neighbour's tree that overhang your property, please remember:

  1. You cannot trespass on your neighbour's property;
  2. You cannot damage your neighbour's property (in this case a tree); and
  3. You have the right to maintain your property in a safe condition

Hydro-line clearing

Woodstock Hydro Services along with the City of Woodstock conduct regularly scheduled tree maintenance to create the necessary clearances between hydro wires and nearby trees.

Woodlot maintenance

City crews prune and remove trees in woodlands throughout the city when necessary to protect the safety of people or property, or to promote forest health. All limb and trunk wood is left on site within the wooded area, according to practices endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This encourages the natural regeneration of the woodland by providing biomass material for regrowth, provides habitat for woodland insects and animals, and leaves the sensitive woodland understory undisturbed.

Other woodlot maintenance action may include managing pests and diseases, invasive vegetation control, and prescribed burns to promote seedling and vegetation regeneration.


Contact Us

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7


Phone: 519-539-1291
TTY: 519-539-7268
Email: General Information

Back to top

I'd Like To...