Trees are for Kids! - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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Trees are for Kids!

Young gardeners learn best by doing, and street trees could use their help! Here are some tree-rific tips to get started:

  • Prep: Scout your tree bed for anything hazardous that should first be removed by you.
  • Dress the part: It’s dirty work, so think fashion for scarecrows—gloves and old clothes.
  • De-trash: Together, collect garbage. See who can gather the most!
  • Weed hunt: Pull a few examples, then play the “match that weed” game until they’re all gone.
  • Rough and fluff: Have kids use a claw cultivator tool to gently scratch the surface of the soil. Drag, don’t dig.
  • Think bagel, not volcano: Spread a one- to two-inch layer of mulch over the bed, leaving an eight-inch “no mulch zone” around the base of the trunk.
  • Be a big drip: Use small watering cans or a bucket brigade (repurposed yogurt containers work well), to give the entire tree bed a nice, slow drink.
  • Choose care captains: Who will be in charge of keeping weeds and trash removed and making sure the trees get enough water each week from spring through fall?
  • Add green bling: Fall is a great time for small hands to plant small bulbs. In spring, plant small, colorful annuals like marigolds and begonias.

For more information on caring for our urban forest take a GreenBridge workshop and read Street Tree Bed Care: Give Trees a Chance.

Maureen O’Brien is the former community field manager at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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