How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has several benefits. Trees provide summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value.

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

Lack of care for new trees could cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

The good news is that tree care isn’t very difficult, but you will want a little information to do it correctly. Educate yourself with the trees you plant in order to know what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll outline the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably are familiar with the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and detail how to perform each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep trees alive, they’ll help them to grow much faster, resist damaging gusts of wind, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and create more leaves, flowers or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

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

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping material. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that it’s possible that the 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 underneath the longest horizontal branch. For new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will also grow as well.

Keep the mulch 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 impede air flow around the tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

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

Follow through with these tasks in the first few growing seasons after planting a tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree gets older. As seasons go on, there will be tree care projects that become more important for young trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very challenging – in the first years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows, you may see several small branches take off, attempting to become the trunk of the tree. You may think this shows that the tree is healthy and that it is growing well, it can actually result in a weak tree over time.

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

So long as there are trees somewhere on your property, they need to be pruned regularly. When the tree gets too large for you to trim them safely, you can rely on ND Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and insect issues. But you’re never 100% safe from these things. As your tree gets older, watch it closely for signs 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 these leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Single limbs dying
  • Bark peeling off

These signals indicate a health issue. The tree is likely going to require professional care if your goal is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can usually diagnose the issue by simply looking at the tree, although they will perform testing whenever necessary.

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

The steps above are simple but effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When your new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that they will survive and will look beautiful too!

Of course, you might already have a very busy schedule and don’t really want to take on these additional tasks. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the ability 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 professional arborist in North Dakota can consult with you about the course of care for each type of tree you plant on your land. Arborists love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting new trees, and can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call ND Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in North Dakota – including tree pruning – for newer trees and older trees. A local tree service will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.