How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has many benefits. Trees offer much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, trees are simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are durable and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. However, if you want to see your trees achieve 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 too difficult, but you will want a little information to do it correctly. Research the new trees you plant in order to know what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll describe 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 explain how to perform each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

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

The root of the tree and the soil around it should be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, because this can cause some of 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 have an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to add the rest. Your trees will need this much water every week for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping product. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. 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 tree trunk and spread it around to completely cover the ground under the longest limb. For new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will continue to grow substantially.

Keep the mulch 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas. Be attentive 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 the nutrients that your soil might not have naturally. Most new trees will benefit from fertilizing, but you need to use the correct products and do it at the right time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

The perfect time of year to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer also provides good conditions (mild 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 professional for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are often a good idea because they feed trees over time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these tasks in the first growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree gets older. As time goes on, there will be tree care tasks that become more important for your new trees.

Trim Your Tree

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

Early trimming shapes the tree into what it will look like when it gets much larger. As small branches emerge on the lower trunk, they need to be cut off so they don’t pull water and nutrients from the branches at the top of the tree.

As long as there are trees growing somewhere on your land, they need to be trimmed periodically. When the trees get too big for you to prune them safely, you can trust DE Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Growing trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and pest issues. But you’re never completely safe from these things. As your tree grows older, monitor 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, despite whether leaves appear healthy or diseased
  • Withering, regardless of adequate watering
  • Single branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

These signals indicate a health issue. It is likely going to need professional maintenance if your plan is to save the tree. An arborist can diagnose the problem by simply looking at your tree, although they will do testing if deemed necessary.

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

The tips above are basic but effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When your new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

Of course, you might already have a full schedule and don’t really want to perform these additional tasks. In some cases, property owners don’t have the ability to give their new trees the necessary maintenance.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to seek the help of a professional for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Delaware can advise you about the course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant. Arborists enjoy sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees on their land, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

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