Skip navigation

Tree Wells

Tree Well

A tree well is a grass-free area at the base of a tree. Tree wells are great for the health of the tree because they:

  • Make it easy for water to reach the tree roots;
  • Keep the soil moist;
  • Keep weeds down; and
  • Keep lawn tools away from the trunk.

Add tree wells to your trees, including the City-planted street trees near your home.

Making a Tree Well

To make a tree well at the base of any tree, follow these instructions:

1) Mark a circle around the tree that is at least 1 metre in diameter.

2) Remove all the grass and weeds inside your circle.

3) Be careful not to harm the tree’s roots or the trunk.

4) Add mulch (or soil if you wish to plant flowers), but make sure it doesn’t touch the trunk.




Mulching is one of the best things you can do to benefit the health of your tree. Mulch is any material placed over the soil in the tree well to improve soil health and moisture.

When adding mulch to your tree well:

  • Don’t use too much mulch at first, and don’t add more too often. Keep the layer around 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) thick.
  • Don't mound the material high against the tree trunk.
  • Do mix new material in to the old mulch with a rake.

We recommend using organic mulch materials. They will need to be added to or replaced as they break down (decompose), but as they are breaking down, they add nutrients to the soil, which is great for the health of the tree. Some organic mulch materials include:

  • Bark mulch
  • Wood chips
  • Leaves
  • Pine needles
  • Compost mixes
  • Other plant materials


Use the tree well as a flower bed to make it look great but do not build high beds around your tree as this will damage your tree.  Take care not to damage the roots when planting the flowers.