Help Trees Thrive in Your Neighborhood

November 29, 2018
by Jessica Saks

Help Trees Thrive in Your Neighborhood

Community involvement is essential to looking after Santa Monica’s urban forest, one of our greatest natural resources. Residents are encouraged to participate in the care of public trees lining the streets in their neighborhoods. These trees are found in what is often referred to as a parkway, or the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street.

One of the best things for a tree is mulch – as long as it’s done right. Mulch retains water during hot summer months and slowly breaks down over time to add nutrients to the soil. It is also a natural weed barrier, restricting growth of weeds and grass that compete with trees for those nutrients. Some residents have already been doing their part to properly mulch around trees in the parkway.

Here are steps to follow if you’d like to help these public trees thrive:  

  1. Remove existing turf (weeds or grass) from around the base of the tree.
  2. Add a uniform, three-inch deep layer of mulch around the tree, but keep it several inches away from the trunk. Spread the mulch to a diameter of at least three feet.
  3. Routinely maintain the area by pulling weeds that grow through the mulch bed and loosening any areas that have become compacted.
  4. Replenish the mulch as needed.

To learn more about caring for public trees in parkways, please visit, call 310-458-8974, or email Thank you for helping our community become a greener place to live.

Back to top