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Adopt a Street Tree

Show a Street Tree some love

Street trees are an important part of the urban canopy and provide a wide range of benefits, from creating green corridors for wildlife to cleaning our air and reducing traffic speed. Street trees live in an exposed environment, which can impact their health and growth, so we are collaborating with Auckland Council to help locals give street trees the care they need to become lush and magnificent. 

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We invite you to Adopt a Street Tree and give it some simple care in order to help it thrive with our Street Tree Love programme. We provide free mulch and advice to help you make a big impact with small actions.

Sign up to adopt a tree by contacting us. We will help you with resources and add your tree to our register to track its progress.


  • How do I sign up?
    Email with your name, your street name and ‘STL’ in the subject line. We will record which tree you are caring for so that there aren’t any double-ups and we will provide you with resources to get started.
  • What are the 3 simple rules for looking after a street tree?
    Mulch! (over the roots and not against the trunk) Don’t damage the bark. Be careful if you mow near trees, not to knock or break the bark on their trunk. Water your trees in dry periods.
  • Can I sign up if I don't have a street tree outside my house?
    Yes! We recommend choosing a tree near your property if you can to make things easy, but you can adopt any street tree you would like. Just let us know so that we can record it and make sure there aren’t any double-ups.
  • Can I prune a Street Tree?
    No. Street trees are owned by the Council for everyone’s benefit and so you cannot prune them without permission. If you see a tree that looks desperately in need of pruning (for the sake of its health), take some photos and send a message to the Council Compliance team, along with the tree’s location.
  • Can I plant a Street Tree myself?
    No. Our verges are owned by Auckland Transport (and street trees are owned by Auckland Council). They are working hard to get more street trees planted, but they don’t encourage people to plant their own because utilities like water pipes and fibre-optic cables often run under verges. Without knowing where these are you might accidentally hurt yourself or cause damage to a service. If you want a street tree planted in front of your house, please get in touch with us at and we will help coordinate with the Council to get one planted for free.
  • How do I get Street Trees planted in my street?
    Auckland Council is currently planting out lots more street trees in streets with bare verges. We are very happy to help encourage them to plant trees in your street. Email us at with your street name, how it is currently looking and what types of trees you would ideally like to see planted and we will help liaise with the Council for you.
  • Can I use grass clippings as mulch?
    We don’t recommend using grass clippings as mulch, unless they are well mixed in with other mulch materials like bark. This is because grass clippings on their own can create anoxic conditions that are not good for tree roots. They may also contain grass seed which will sprout up around the trunk and need clearing.
  • Why shouldn't I pile mulch up around an adopted tree's trunk?
    It might seem like you are helping a tree by piling mulch around it, but tree bark can actually be damaged by the conditions that mulch creates. Mulch against tree trunks can rot bark and cause trees to get fungal infections, because it creates damp humid conditions that are great for roots, but not good for bark. Remember when mulching, aim for a flat ring, not a heaped volcano.
  • How often should I water street trees?
    It depends on the weather. If there has been plenty of rain in the last five days you don’t need to water them at all. If there has been no rain for a week or more we suggest watering them 2-3 times a week. One watering-can’s worth (5-10 litres) per tree should be enough. If Auckland’s water supply is looking good (you can check this here) and there are no water restrictions, you can water them as much as once a day if you feel really keen. We recommend watering in the evening if you can as this gives the water time to soak into the soil overnight before the sun comes up.
  • What type of tree have I adopted?
    Send us a picture to and we will let you know!
  • I don’t like the type of trees we have on our street, can we get them replaced?
    No, unless they are a pest tree species they will not be replaced. Our street trees belong to the Council and contribute to our urban canopy in many ways. All trees help support local bird life by providing food and shelter. No matter the species, our street trees are doing us good by cleaning our air, regulating temperatures and the water cycle and beautifying our streets. Don’t forget that just because you might not like a particular type of tree doesn’t mean other people in your street don’t love them.
  • How do I know if a tree is adopted?
    We are encouraging people who sign up to Street Tree Love to attach a tag to its branches identifying it as adopted. We are also recording all the adoptions in a map so that we can see how many are being cared for and so that we can avoid two or more people caring for the same tree. Feel free to email us to check if you want to adopt a tree but don’t know if it is already taken.
  • Can I stop Vector/lines companies from trimming the trees on my street?
    Unfortunately not. Street trees are owned by the Council on behalf of the people of Auckland and they need to balance a number of conflicting interests so that all the required services can function properly on our streets. While trees definitely don’t look their best when they have been trimmed around power lines, this is a compromise between the benefits they bring and power lines being able to access everyone’s homes. If trees aren’t trimmed around lines branches may break in storms and take out power lines, causing a loss of power to residents.
  • Should I give my adopted tree any food?
    You don’t need to feed your adopted tree. If you do have a worm farm or a compost then you could give your adopted tree some well-diluted worm tea or a little compost over its roots, with mulch over the top. We would only recommend doing this once every three months if you do choose to do so, as too many nutrients (as well as undiluted nutrients) can burn tree roots and may do more harm than good. Water is best!
  • Is there another way to avoid damaging tree trunks from mowers other than mulching?
    Mulching really is best as it provides more benefits than protection from mower damage alone. If you really don’t want to, or can’t mulch for whatever reason then you can trim the grass around tree trunks by hand using scissors, so mowers don’t need to mow right up against the base of the tree. We do not recommend spraying around your street trees to keep grass down as the herbicide can damage the trees.
  • Do I own or have any rights over the tree I have adopted?
    No. Street trees are public assets owned by Auckland Council. Caring for them is voluntary and helps to enhance our local environment, but it does not give you rights over the tree. Think of it as a very small public park in front of your house that you are helping to care for.
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