How to Care for a New Tree

The City of Madison provides over 96,000 street trees throughout the city. Trees provide many benefits:

  • Shade, lower air temperatures, and reduce cooling cost in summer
  • Improved air and water quality
  • Habitat for birds, wildlife and insects
  • Fall foliage and neighborhood beauty

New trees require special care in their early development and we rely on residents to care for the terrace tree at your property. Watering the new tree will help it grow and continue providing benefits for years to come.


  • DO: Water the new terrace tree. It may require up to 15 gallons of water every week, depending on rainfall. The soil should be moist, but not saturated. 15 gallons of water equates to approximately $0.15 in 2018.
  • DON'T: Avoid damaging the tree with lawnmowers, bicycle locks and string trimmers. Please report any vehicle or vandalism damage to the City of Madison Forestry Office, 266-4816.
  • DO: Mulch provides a good weed barrier and helps retain soil moisture. Add a little mulch each spring or fall to maintain a depth of 3-4 inches. Leave space next to the tree trunk. The mulch should not touch the trunk.
  • DON'T: Avoid using weed killer near the new tree. Fertilizer is unnecessary the first two years.
  • TIP: If the tree is staked, a Forestry crew will return to remove the stakes. Staking is necessary for one complete growing season.
  • FUTURE CARE: The City of Madison Forestry Section is responsible for pruning and will replace the tree if it dies.