How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has several benefits. Trees create summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, most trees are very simple to maintain: another benefit! They are hardy and tend to continue growing even with minimal care. However, if you want to help your trees achieve their potential, they need a little more effort.

Lack of care for young trees can lead to rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, tree care isn’t too complicated, but you do need a little information to do it correctly. Research the trees you plant in order to know what they need. Then care for them and watch them bloom.

Here, we’ll explain the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably know the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and lay out how to perform each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only keep trees alive, they’ll help them to grow much faster, stand up to damaging winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and create more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than older ones. The trees you plant on your property are no exception.

The root ball of the tree and the soil all around it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, because this can cause some of the roots to rot.

The general rule is 4-10 gallons of water per week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to supplement the rest. Your new trees will need this much water every week for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping product. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch exactly 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it out to cover the ground under the longest horizontal limb. For brand new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will also grow substantially.

Keep the mulch 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant in keeping it spread out consistently and far enough away from the trunk of the tree so it does not stop air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides several nutrients that your soil may not have naturally. Most new trees benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the right products and doing it at the right time in order for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

The perfect season to fertilize is early spring. Sometimes early summer provides good conditions (mild temperatures and wet soil), but don’t count on it.

If you are uncertain about which fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are often a good idea because they feed your trees over a period of time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these things in the first few growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reevaluate your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree grows larger. As seasons go on, there will be tree care projects that are more important for your new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very tricky – in the first years after planting a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you may see several little branches take off, trying to become the tree’s trunk. While you may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually result in a weak tree in the future.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it will look like when it is much larger. As little limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they have to be removed so they don’t pull water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

As long as there are trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be trimmed regularly. When the trees get too big for you to prune them safely, you can count on CA Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Growing trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and pest issues. But you’re never truly safe from these issues. As your tree gets larger, monitor it carefully for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Early leaf drop, regardless of whether these leaves look healthy or sick
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Single branches dying
  • Peeling bark

These signals likely mean a health issue. It is likely going to require professional care if your plan is to save the tree. A certified arborist can usually diagnose the issue by simply looking at your tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

If you identify the problem quick enough, you will probably be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect your growing trees.

The tips above are basic yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When your new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring any severe, damaging weather, the chances are in your favor that they will survive and look wonderful too!

Of course, you may already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to be responsible for these additional tasks. In some cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their growing trees the appropriate care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional for caring for new trees. A certified arborist in California can advise you about the best course of care for each type of tree you plant on your property. They love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees on their land, and they can be the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

Call CA Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in California – including tree trimming – for newer trees and old trees. A local tree service can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.