Tree Stewardship

Healthy street trees are essential to quality of life in our neighborhoods. CIVITAS advocates for improved tree stewardship in East Harlem and the Upper East Side through individual, community, and city efforts.



CIVITAS Tree Initiatives

  • Tree Stewardship Workshop – September 2009: In partnership with Trees New York, CIVITAS informed residents how to care for their neighborhood trees and ensure their survival and handed out tool kits to aid stewardship efforts
  • East 86th Street Trees and Tree Guards: In collaboration with the Parks Department and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, CIVITAS enlarged tree sites, planted new trees, and installed 55 tree guards on East 86th Street between First and Lexington Avenues.


Report dead or damaged trees by calling 311 or click here to use the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation forestry service request system online.

To report dead or damaged trees by phone:

  • Dial 311, request the Parks Department
  • State the tree’s nearest street address
  • Describe the tree’s status (i.e. empty tree pit)
  • Record confirmation number to follow up
  • Follow up on the status your request

Through the forestry service request system, you can also request:

  • A new street tree
  • Notify of illegal tree damage
  • Submit a report of potentially hazardous trees or branches
  • Notify of an undesirable root, sewer, or sidewalk condition


NYC Tree Stewardship Resources

MillionTreesNYC plans to create an urban forest, planting and caring for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade.

Adopt a Tree through the MillionTreesNYC Stewardship Corps and record tree care progress on the interactive website.

Trees New York’s mission is to plant, preserve and protect New York City’s urban forest through education, active citizen participation, and advocacy.

Green Guerillas is an organization that uses education and advocacy to build community gardens, paint murals, engage youth, and address issues critical to future of the city’s gardens.

New York Restoration Project engages NYC residents in the long-term stewardship of their open spaces by planting thousands of trees, flowers, and shrubs in community gardens and parks every year.

Root for Trees raises environmental consciousness and protects street trees through creative artistic signage.


Tree Care Tips

Adapted from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

#1: Watering is the most important thing you can do for your street tree. Between May and October, young trees must be watered 15-20 gallons once a week. Polluted and compacted urban soil needs to be cultivated or loosened before watering so the water can reach the tree’s roots. It is important to water slowly and at soil level.

#2: Weeding is an essential part of caring for street trees, though not as important as watering. Weeding is important because of the limited amount of space, soil, and nutrients that street trees have. Weed as frequently as possible, but more attention is needed in the early fall before the weeds dry out and spread their seeds. When weeding, be sure to correctly identity a weed, wear gloves,  pull out the entire weed, including the roots, and dispose of the weed in the trash

#3: Waste and litter are important to remove from street trees because they reduce the amount of stress placed on the plants and ensures the place as a community asset. Be sure to wear gloves and properly dispose of waste in city trash cans or your own trash.

#4: Tree Pit Care protects street trees from some of the stressers of the urban environment by providing a nutrient-rich environment surrounding the tree. Loosening the top two inches of the soil to alleviate compaction, adding mulch, and keeping dogs, dog waste, and garbage out of the pit creates a more nurturing pit for a street tree.

#5: Planting in street tree pits is encouraged as long as you remember that the tree’s health comes first. The plants chosen should be small, require little watering, and no more than two inches of soil should be added to the tree pit.

Click here to view the full document on Street Tree Stewardship from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation


What locations are in need of Street Trees in your neighborhood?  Fill out the comment box below and provide your feedback:

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