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City staff pruning trees

How to Plant Trees

The perfect tree starts with proper planting. Here are our tree planting tips to help your privately-owned trees grow bigger, safer, and live longer.

Planting Tips:

  1. Call before you dig. Contact Alberta One-Call to ensure that there are no conflicting underground utilities near your desired planting location.
  2. Handle with care. Always lift the tree by the rootball.
  3. Dig a large hole that is approximately 2x as wide as the rootball.
  4. Plant at the right depth. The tree flare should be slightly above the ground. A tree flare, also called root flare, is the broadening of a tree’s trunk just above the soil line.
  5. Backfill the hole with good soil. You can generally use the soil that you dug out of the hole, unless it is primarily clay.
  6. Top with a mulch ring to help with moisture retention. Keep the mulch at least 5cm away from the tree trunk to ensure proper exchange of oxygen.
  7. Reference this Tree Planting video for more information.
  8. For a list of common trees found in Edmonton, please visit our Common Tree Species page.

How to Water Trees

When there is little rain or signs of drought, it is important to water trees to ensure their long-term survivability. Use these watering tips for your privately-owned trees:

Watering Tips:

  • Water your tree in the early morning or evening.
  • Check if the soil is moist to the touch, if so your tree may not need watering.
  • Water around the tree's drip line (an imaginary line extending from the outermost branch tips straight down to the ground), rather than just around the trunk.
  • To reach the roots responsible for gathering water make sure the area around your tree is moist to a depth of 30 - 45cm below the surface, depending on the size of the tree.
  • During drought conditions, the soil may first repel the water. Water lightly several times on the first day until the soil will accept the water.
  • Trees can drown! Instead of watering often, water generously in one long, slow application.
  • Wood mulch will help to keep the roots cool and moist.
  • Water your trees well in early spring and in the fall to prepare for winter.

The City waters newly-planted and transplanted City-owned trees regularly for approximately the first 3 years. If your new boulevard tree needs attention, please contact 311.

How to Prune Trees

Pruning promotes long-term health and structure and helps to eliminate potential hazards. Use these pruning tips for your privately-owned trees:

Pruning Tips for Private Trees:

  • Keep your pruning tools sharp and clean.
  • Never prune out more than one quarter of the tree crown at a time; if your tree requires a lot of pruning, spread it out over several years.
  • Remove all diseased limbs, dead and dying limbs and crossing branches.
  • For more pruning information, visit Trees Are Good.
  • Is your tree next a power line? Please contact EPCOR to arrange for pruning.
  • For those who require assistance pruning large trees, the City recommends using a certified ISA Arborist.

Please note that the Community Standards Bylaw regulates the removal, pruning, transportation, storage and sale of elm trees in the city to ensure that the trees remain free of Dutch elm disease. Elm tree pruning is only permitted between October 1 and March 31. If there is an immediate concern or request for elm tree pruning outside the regulated season, please contact Pest Management to be considered for an exemption permit.

Controlling Pests and Disease

Some pests are good for trees while others are not. Learn more about tree pests and disease.

Are you worried about your tree and need advice? Contact 311.

For More Information

311 Contact Centre

Online Contact 311 Online

If you are calling from outside of Edmonton: 780-442-5311



TTY 780-944-5555

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