Press Releases

Thursday, July 08, 2010
No. 57

NYC Parks Commissioner and Harlem Community Urge New Yorkers to Water their Street Trees throughout the Summer

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined New York City’s citizen tree stewards and members of Harlem’s Proyecto de Embellecimiento 137th St. Beautification Project in watering street trees and encouraging New Yorkers to do so during this current heat wave and throughout the summer.

“During these days of record heat and sparse rainfall, it is important for all of us to stay hydrated – including the young trees that line our city’s streets,” said Commissioner Benepe. “We encourage New Yorkers to water the street trees in front of their homes and on their blocks – not only during this heat wave – but throughout the summer. Opportunities also abound to get involved through the MillionTreesNYC Stewardship Corps. Together, we can ensure that our young trees thrive while they work to lower temperatures, reduce air pollution, and beautify our city.”

Parks suggests the following basic guidelines when watering trees:

  • Water each young tree 15-20 gallons once a week between May and October (that’s 3-4 large buckets).
  • Using a hand cultivator, carefully loosen the top 2-3 inches of soil to alleviate compaction and help water and air reach the roots.
  • Do not dig any deeper or use large tools. These will damage the tree roots.
  • Water slowly so the water penetrates the soil and does not run off of the surface.
  • Water at the soil level, not through the leaves of shrubs and groundcovers.
  • If it rains one inch or more in a week’s time period, you do not need to water.

Additional suggestions include:

· Poke small holes at the bottom of a large trash can. Fill it with 15-20 gallons of water and leave the trash can next to the tree overnight.
· Ask building maintenance staff to water trees while they are hosing off sidewalks.
· Ask street vendors and merchants to dump water from their containers (coolers with melted ice or flower buckets) into nearby tree pits at the end of the day.
· Make sure water with detergent or bleach is dumped into the gutter, not the tree pit.

A new NYC Parks “Water the Street Trees of NY” public service announcement launches today in Times Square. The 30-second PSA runs at the end of each hour from Thursday, July 8 until Thursday, July 22. It can also be seen on NYC-TV, SNY, and NY1.

MillionTreesNYC is a cornerstone of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, a blueprint to fight global warming and create a more livable city. MillionTreesNYC is a joint initiative of the City of New York and New York Restoration Project, through which one million new trees will be planted and cared for throughout the five boroughs by 2017. For more information, visit

The MillionTreesNYC Stewardship Corps was launched In May 2009 as a collaboration with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Greenbelt Conservancy, GreenThumb, Partnerships for Parks, Queens Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden and Trees New York to build a community-based network of tree stewards across the city’s five boroughs. The Stewardship Corps engages everyday New Yorkers in urban tree stewardship through:

  • Accessible, no-cost tree care workshops and toolkits;
  • Coordination and expansion of existing environmental and tree stewardship programs across New York City;
  • “Train-the-Trainer” workshops to provide trainings to organizations and empower Corps members to educate new tree stewards through their local networks; and
  • Online space for tree stewards to network and share tree care resources.

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