How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your land has many benefits. Trees give summer shade, create privacy, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, most trees are simple to maintain: another benefit! They are hardy and tend to grow despite minimal care. However, if you want to see your trees achieve their full potential, they need a little more effort.

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

The good news is that caring for trees isn’t too difficult, but you do need some tips to do it correctly. Educate yourself with the new trees you plant to know what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Below, we’ll list the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely are aware of the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and lay out how to perform each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them grow much faster, withstand extreme winds, fight off diseases and pests and produce more leaves, buds 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 around it should be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, as this can cause the roots to rot.

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive lawn care material. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can cause 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 underneath the longest branch. For brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will continue to grow as well.

Keep the mulch no less than 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant in keeping it spread out consistently and away from the trunk of the tree so it does not limit air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides nutrients your land’s soil might not naturally have. Most new trees benefit from fertilizing, but you need to use the right products and doing it at the right time in order for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

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

If you are unsure about which fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed your trees over time rather than all at once.

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

Trim Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – yet very challenging – in the initial years after planting a tree. As the tree grows bigger, you will start to see a lot of little branches take off, trying to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this shows that the tree is healthy and that it is growing well, it can actually result in a weak tree as time goes on.

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

So long as there are trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be pruned periodically. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can rely on OR 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 gets older, watch it closely for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Early leaf falling, despite whether leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, despite adequate watering
  • Individual branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs indicate a health problem. It is likely going to need professional care if your plan is to keep the tree alive. An arborist can often diagnose the problem by just looking at the tree, although they will perform testing whenever necessary.

If you identify the issue early enough, you will likely be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect growing trees.

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

Of course, you could already have a full schedule and don’t 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 appropriate maintenance.

Whatever the situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a tree company for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Oregon can consult with you about the best course of maintenance for each tree species you plant on your land. Arborists enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting brand new trees, and can make the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

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