How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has many benefits. Trees provide much-needed summer shade, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal and property value.

Once full-grown, trees are very easy to care for: another benefit! Trees are hardy and tend to grow even with minimal care. However, if you want to see your trees reach their potential, they need more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t very difficult, but you do need a little information to do it correctly. Familiarize yourself with the trees you plant to know what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll outline the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You probably are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and detail how to do each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than grown 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 too wet, because this might cause 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 get you close enough to supplement the remaining gallons. Your new trees 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 product. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can 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 tree trunk and spread it out to completely cover the ground under the longest branch. For new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will continue to 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 far enough away from the trunk of the tree so it does not impede air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides the nutrients your soil might not have naturally. Most new trees can benefit from fertilizing, but you need to be using the right products and do it at the correct time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

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

If you aren’t certain about which type of fertilizer to use, consult a tree care professional for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are typically 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 growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree becomes more established. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care projects that are more important for new trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very challenging – in the first years after you plant a new tree. As the tree grows, you will see several little branches take off, trying to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this shows that the tree is healthy and growing well, but it can actually lead to a weak tree as time goes on.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it is going to look like when it gets much larger. As tiny limbs emerge from the lower trunk, they have to be removed so they don’t suck water and nutrients from the branches at the top.

As long as there are trees somewhere on your property, they need to be pruned routinely. When the trees get too big for you to trim them safely, you can rely on WA 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 100% safe from these issues. As your tree grows older, monitor it carefully for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

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

These signs indicate a health problem. The tree is probably going to need professional maintenance if your goal is to save the tree. An arborist can typically diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing if necessary.

If you identify the issue quick enough, you will likely be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best way to protect new trees.

The steps above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When your new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are good that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

Of course, you may already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to perform these additional tasks. In some cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary maintenance.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to contact a tree service for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Washington can advise you about the course of care for each type of tree you plant on your property. Arborists enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting brand new trees, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees that thrive.

Call WA Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Washington – including tree trimming – for new trees and older trees. An arborists will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.