Help us water new trees

Tree watering

Our Tree team plants around 250 new trees every year in the streets and open spaces of Cambridge, to replace those lost to old age.

For the first three years, newly planted trees need a little extra care and attention to help them get established. The most critical element is to keep them well watered while they adjust to their new surroundings.

We will water all new trees regularly, but need your help: if you notice a new tree on your street and have a hosepipe, a watering can or even just the washing-up bowl, you can do your bit.

In return, the trees will provide clean air to breathe and homes for birds and creatures, and help to cool the streets, combating the ill effects of climate change for future generations.

Follow our watering tips during the growing season (April to September):

Guide to watering frequency for newly planted trees
MonthFirst year after plantingSecond year after plantingThird year after planting
April Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Only if very dry Only if very dry
May Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Once per fortnight Only if very dry
June Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Once per fortnight Once per month
July Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Once per fortnight Once per month
August Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Once per fortnight Once per month
September Once per week – twice if very hot or dry Only if very dry Only if very dry
  • One big drink a week is best, but more often is fine during very hot weather
  • Ideally, try to give at least 20 litres per watering – although anything you can manage is great
  • Tap water, rain water or even dishwater is fine – just make sure no chemicals stronger than washing-up liquid are in the mix
  • If there's a green watering bag, you can fill it through the filling slot at the top (possibly hidden under the label) – but if it's easier just slowly pour the water over the roots, letting the water soak deep into the soil and avoiding too much water running straight off
  • Ask your neighbours to get involved, especially if you’re planning on going on holiday over the summer
  • Try not to water when the ground is wet and soggy – while rain fall isn't always enough to satisfy newly planted trees, too much water can be as bad as not enough
  • If you use a hosepipe, do so safely – don't leave it unattended or trail it across the road
  • The best time to water is either in the morning or at night – try to avoid the hottest part of the day to minimise evaporation, although water anytime is better than no water at all

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