How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has many benefits. Trees provide summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase property value.

Once completely grown, trees are pretty simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are hardy and tend to continue growing even with minimal care. But, if you want to ensure your trees reach their potential, they need a little more effort.

Lack of care for young trees can lead to rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

Fortunately, tree care isn’t very difficult, but you will want a little information to do it right. Research the trees you plant to know what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Here, we’ll outline the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and explain how to do each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them to grow faster, stand up to extreme winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

The root of the tree and the soil all around it have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, because this might cause some of the roots to rot.

The general rule is 4-10 gallons of water every week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to get 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 much more than an attractive landscaping product. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots. 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 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 also grow as well.

Keep the mulch 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be attentive in keeping it spread out consistently and away from the tree trunk so it does not limit air flow around the tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

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

Follow through with these things in the initial growing seasons after planting a tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree becomes more established. As seasons go on, there will be tree care tasks that are more important for your 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 bigger, you will see several 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, it can actually result in a weak tree as time goes on.

Early pruning shapes the tree into what it is going to look like when it gets much larger. As tiny branches emerge from the lower trunk, they need to be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients from the upper branches.

As long as you have trees on your land, they need to be trimmed regularly. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can count on VA Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and insect issues. But you’re never completely safe from these issues. As your tree gets larger, watch it closely for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf falling, despite whether leaves appear healthy or sick
  • Wilting, regardless of proper watering
  • Single branches or limbs dying
  • Bark peeling

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

If you identify the issue quick enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect your growing trees.

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

Of course, you may already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to be responsible for these additional lawn care projects. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a tree service for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Virginia can advise you about the course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant on your property. They enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting new trees on their land, and can be the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

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