How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has many benefits. Trees offer much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value.

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

Lack of care for growing trees might cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

The good news is that caring for trees isn’t very difficult, but you do need a little information to do it correctly. Research the new trees you plant to know what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll outline the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably know the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and lay out how to complete each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep trees alive, they’ll help them grow much faster, withstand extreme winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, flowers or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

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

The general rule is 4-10 gallons of water every week. Rain water counts, and although it’s difficult to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to add the remaining gallons. Your trees need this much water for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

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

Place mulch 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it around to cover the ground under the longest horizontal limb. For brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will 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 away from the tree trunk so it does not stop air flow around the tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides nutrients your land’s soil may not naturally have. Most new trees will benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the right products and doing it at the correct time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

The perfect time of year to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer also provides the right conditions (mild temperatures and wet soil), but don’t count on it.

If you are uncertain about which type of fertilizer to use, consult 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 right away.

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

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very challenging – in the first years after planting a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you may see a lot of small branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. While you may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, but it can actually result in a very weak tree in the future.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it is much larger. As little limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients away from the branches at the top.

As long as there are trees somewhere on your property, they need to be trimmed periodically. When the tree gets too large for you to prune them safely, you can count on MD Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and pest issues. But you’re never completely safe from these issues. As your tree gets older, monitor it carefully for signs of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf drop, regardless of whether these leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with adequate watering
  • Single limbs or branches dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs indicate a health issue. The tree is probably going to need professional maintenance if your hope is to save the tree. A certified arborist can identify the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will perform testing if necessary.

If you determine the problem early enough, you will likely be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect your new trees.

The tips above are basic yet effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When your new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are in your favor that they will survive and look beautiful!

Of course, you might already have a lot on your plate and don’t really want to be responsible for these additional lawn care projects. In many cases, property owners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to contact a local tree service for the care of new trees. A certified arborist in Maryland can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant on your land. Arborists enjoy sharing their expertise and skills with people planting new trees, and can be the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

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