How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your land has many benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase property value.

Once full-grown, trees are easy to care for: another benefit! They are strong and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. However, if you want to ensure your trees achieve their full potential, they need more effort.

Lack of care for young trees might cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too complicated, but you will want some tips to do it correctly. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll list the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably know the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and detail how to do each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them grow faster, stand up to extreme gusts of wind, fight off diseases and pests and create more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant are no exception.

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

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive landscaping material. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes lead to rotting and decay – so much so, that the tree will not survive.

Place mulch 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 at least 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be attentive in spreading it out consistently and away from the tree trunk so it does not stop air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides several nutrients that your land’s soil may not naturally have. Most new trees can benefit from fertilizing, but you need to be using the correct 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 aren’t certain about which fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care specialist for recommendations. 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 initial 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 additional tree care tasks that are more important for your new trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very tricky – in the early years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows, you will see many small branches take off, trying to become the tree’s trunk. While you may think this shows that the tree is healthy and that it is growing well, it can actually result in a very weak tree as time goes on.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it will look like when it becomes much larger. As tiny limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be removed so they don’t suck water and nutrients away from the branches at the top of the tree.

As long as there are trees on your property, they need to be trimmed periodically. When the trees get too big for you to prune them safely, you can rely on OH Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and insect issues. But you’re never 100% safe from these things. As your tree gets larger, monitor it closely for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf drop, despite whether leaves appear healthy or diseased
  • Withering, despite proper watering
  • Single limbs or branches dying
  • Bark peeling off

These signs indicate a health issue. It is likely going to need professional care if your plan is to keep the tree alive. An arborist can typically diagnose the issue by just looking at your tree, although they will perform testing if deemed necessary.

If you identify the problem quick enough, you will likely be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect younger trees.

The steps above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When new trees have proper care, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that they will survive and look beautiful!

Of course, you might already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to be responsible for these additional tasks. In many cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to hire a professional for the care of new trees. A certified arborist in Ohio can advise you about the course of maintenance for each tree species you plant. They love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees, and can make the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call OH Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Ohio – including tree trimming – for newer trees and old trees. An arborists can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.