Trees in the Neighborhood

Trees contribute heartily to the beauty of Bolton Hill. Since city life is hard on trees, they need continued maintenance, from planting to watering to pruning. 


Planting Trees

Bolton Hill works with the Midtown Community Benefits District to plant and maintain trees in the neighborhood. Volunteers who live in the neighborhood track which street trees are dead or dying and need removal, which tree wells have large stumps ready for removal, and which tree wells are ready for planting. They submit requests to remove large dead or dying trees and grind out stumps through the City’s 311 service request system. If you’re wondering about the status of a particular tree, inquire with the location at If a large tree or branch falls from a storm, report it directly through 311, and it will receive expedited attention.

Volunteer tree plantings are organized with Midtown on a Saturday in the spring and in the fall. Anyone is welcome to volunteer to plant trees. No experience required. Midtown will bring the equipment; just bring your own gloves. Approximately 20 trees are planted each planting session. Look for an upcoming tree planting date on the BHCA calendar.

Midtown obtains trees native to Maryland from the City and selects ones suited for their intended planting locations.

Watering Trees

The trees in front of your home will thrive if you help to take care of them. New trees should receive 20 gallons of water once or twice a week (equivalent to a slow faucet flow for 10 minutes) from May through October for at least their first two years in the ground. Established trees have a root system that can draw more water to the tree without regular watering, but certainly benefit from watering as well, especially in dry periods.

After planting a new tree, Midtown crews place a gator bag at its base and refill it at regular intervals for two years. Gator bags hold a few gallons of water that slowly trickle out to water the tree. If you see a young tree that looks distressed, feel free to fill up its gator bag or directly water it yourself. Midtown removes gator bags in the winter.

Pruning Trees

Why prune trees? Pruning helps ensure that city trees have the best shot at living longer and providing all the benefits of large trees to a city street. Tree branches that grow into the street are at risk of being mangled by parking trucks and can also reduce the line of sight for pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Volunteer tree pruning sessions are organized with Midtown in the winter. Look for an upcoming tree pruning date on the BHCA calendar.

Tree Wells

Tree wells are city property, but anyone can plant and maintain them. The recommended square area is 4 ft by 8 ft, though many Bolton Hill tree wells are smaller. If you use mulch, avoid putting it directly on a tree’s trunk, which heightens the risk that a tree could be harmed by pests or disease.

Raised tree planter boxes around a tree well are not good practice. The added soil can negatively affect a tree’s growth and inhibit water from running from the sidewalk into the tree well as a preferred alternative to sewer drains. In addition, the City may require a resident to remove planter boxes when a new tree is planted.

A patch of sidewalk may not have a tree well because it’s above water or gas lines. You can check by contacting MISS UTILITY. Midtown is exploring the possibility of opening new and expanding old tree wells around the neighborhood.

More about Trees

You can find out more about trees on the Baltimore Tree Trust website and become certified by the City to plant, maintain, and prune trees through Baltimore’s Treekeepers program.

Go to Baltimore’s Tree Inventory Map to identify tree species planted on public land around the city.