How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your land has several benefits. Trees offer much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value.

Once full-grown, most trees are simple to maintain: another benefit! They are strong and tend to grow even with minimal care. However, if you want to help your trees achieve their full potential, they need more effort.

Lack of care for young trees might result in rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, tree care isn’t all that difficult, but you do need a little information to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Here, we’ll explain the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are aware of the basics, so let’s dive deeper and lay out how to perform each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than grown 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, because this might cause the roots to rot.

The best practice is 4-10 gallons of water every week. Rain water counts, and although it’s challenging to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to supplement the rest. Your new trees will need this much water every week for the initial 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive lawn care product. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes result in rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that it’s possible that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it out to cover the ground underneath the longest limb. 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 substantially.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The perfect 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 uncertain about which fertilizer to use, consult a tree care specialist for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed your trees over time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these tasks in the first few 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 new trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very tricky – in the initial years after planting a tree. As the tree grows bigger, you may see several little branches take off, competing to become the tree’s trunk. While you may think this means 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 is going to ultimately look like when it gets much larger. As small limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t suck water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be pruned regularly. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can count on AR Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Growing trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and pest problems. But you’re never 100% safe from these things. As your tree grows older, monitor it carefully for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Early leaf drop, despite whether these leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, regardless of proper watering
  • Single branches dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs indicate a health problem. The tree is likely going to need professional maintenance if your hope is to save the tree. An experienced arborist can typically identify the issue by simply looking at the tree, although they will perform testing if necessary.

If you discover the problem early enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect younger trees.

The tips above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When your new trees have proper care, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are in your favor that they will survive and look wonderful!

Of course, you could already have a lot on your plate and don’t want to be responsible for these additional lawn care projects. In many cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their growing trees the necessary care.

Whatever the situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Arkansas can advise you about the best course of care for each type of tree you plant on your property. Arborists love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting new trees on their land, and can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call AR Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Arkansas – including tree pruning – 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.