How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your property has many benefits. Trees give much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once completely grown, trees are easy to maintain: another benefit! They are strong and tend to grow with minimal care. However, if you want to help your trees achieve their maximum potential, they need a little more effort.

Lack of care for growing trees can result in rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

The good news is that tree care isn’t all that difficult, but you will want a little information to do it correctly. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll describe the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and detail how to perform each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only keep your trees alive, they’ll help them to grow faster, resist damaging winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

The root ball of the tree and the soil around it have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, as this can cause the roots to rot.

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

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

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

Keep the mulch no less than 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas. Be vigilant in keeping it spread out consistently and far enough 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 have naturally. Most new trees will benefit from fertilizing, but you have to be using the correct products and doing it at the right time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

The best time to fertilize is early spring. Sometimes early summer provides good conditions (comfortable temperatures and moist soil), but don’t count on it.

If you are unsure about which type of fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care specialist for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are usually a good idea because they feed your trees over a period of time rather than all right away.

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

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very tricky – in the initial years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows, you will see a lot of small branches take off, trying to become the trunk of the tree. While you may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually result in a weak tree over time.

Early pruning shapes the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it becomes much larger. As little branches emerge from the lower trunk, they have to be removed so they don’t steal water and nutrients from the branches at the top of the tree.

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

Monitor Your Tree

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

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf falling, regardless of whether leaves look healthy or sick
  • Wilting, despite adequate watering
  • Individual branches dying
  • Bark peeling off

These signals indicate a health problem. The tree is probably going to require professional care if your goal is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can usually identify the problem by just looking at your tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

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

The tips 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 any severe, damaging weather, the chances are probable that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

Of course, you might already have a lot on your plate and don’t want to take on these additional tasks. In many cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their new trees the appropriate care.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to contact a tree service for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in West Virginia can advise you about the best course of maintenance for each tree species you plant on your property. They love sharing their expertise and skills with homeowners planting new trees, and can be the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

Call WV Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in West Virginia – including tree trimming – for new trees and old trees. A local tree service will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.