How to Help Maintain Your Trees

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:

  • 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.

Learn more about caring for urban trees in Oakville! Like Oakville Canopy Club on Facebook and follow @OakCanopyClub on Twitter for information and tips

How much water does my tree need?

You can encourage a tree’s roots to grow deep to protect it from drought by watering slowly, deeply and less often.

Newly planted trees

A newly planted tree on clay soils (typically found in Oakville north of the QEW) with a diameter of six cm (2.4 inches) will need about 45 litres (10 gallons) of water every 10 to 14 days. Take the amount of rainfall and lawn irrigation schedules into account when planning your watering schedule, and check the Halton Region website for water restriction information.

Trees on sandy soils need twice as much water as trees on clay soils, and should be watered every five to seven days. Apply water slowly into a "berm" of mulch spread at the edge of the planting hole. Move the mulch berm out as the tree grows.

Mature trees

Mature trees on clay soils need about seven litres (1.6 gallons) of water for every centimetre (0.4 inch) of tree diameter (measured at breast height––1.3 metres [4.5 feet] above the ground).

To learn more about when, where and how long to water your tree, review this Texas Forest Services video.

Damaged or diseased trees

If you notice a municipal tree is damaged or diseased, please contact the Urban Forestry section at the number or email at the bottom of this page.


Municipal property

The town prunes trees on municipal property. If you notice newly planted trees that require attention (e.g., have broken stakes), please contact the Urban Forestry section at the number or email at the bottom of the page.

Residents may have the opportunity to hire a contractor to perform town-approved maintenance on a town-owned tree at the resident’s expense. Residents must submit a completed "Agreement for Contractors to Perform Arboricultural Services on Town Property," and receive approval from the Urban Forestry section before any work can be done on a tree. To learn more, open the agreement for contractors to perform aboricultural services on town property (pdf).

Private property

You are permitted to prune your private tree under the Private Tree Protection By-law provided the pruning meets good arboricultural standards, which include ensuring that no more than one-third of the live branches or limbs of a tree are cut in one season. A qualified tree expert should always be retained to carry out tree pruning.

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 town 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:

  • You cannot trespass on your neighbour’s property
  • You cannot damage your neighbour’s property (in this case a tree)
  • You have the right to maintain your property in a safe condition

Woodland maintenance

Town forestry maintenance crews prune and remove trees in woodlands throughout the town when necessary to protect the safety of people or property, or to promote forest health. 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. Learn more about the March 22, 2012 prescribed burn at Iroquois Shoreline Wood carried out by Forestry staff.

The Central Hardwood Forest Conference is a series of biennial meetings dedicated to the sustainability and improvement of the Central Hardwood forest ecosystems. The objective of the conference is to bring together forest managers and scientists to discuss research and issues concerning the ecology and management of forests in the Central Hardwood region. Oakville is in the northern fringe of the Central Hardwood Region and has benefitted greatly from interactions with professionals that attend these meetings. The paper, Managing an Oak Decline Crises in Oakville, Ontario: Lessons Learned (pdf), was presented at the 18th Central Hardwoods Conference in Morgantown, West Virginia in 2013.

For more information

TTY: 905-338-4200