How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your property has several benefits. Trees provide summer shade, filter polluted air and increase property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once completely grown, trees are easy to care for: another benefit! Trees are durable and tend to grow even with minimal care. However, if you want to ensure your trees achieve their full potential, they need more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t all that complicated, but you will want some tips to do it correctly. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll list the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely know the basics, so let’s dive deeper and lay out 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 grow much faster, resist strong winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and create more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant are no exception.

The root of the tree and the soil all around it should be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, because this can cause the roots to rot.

The best practice is 4-10 gallons of water per week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to supplement the rest. Your 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 also helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch exactly 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it out to cover the ground underneath the longest horizontal branch. For brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will grow as well.

Keep the mulch at least 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant 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 soil may not have naturally. Most young trees will benefit from fertilizing, but you need to be using the right products and doing it at the correct time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

The ideal time to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer also provides good conditions (comfortable temperatures and moist soil), but don’t count on it.

If you are uncertain 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 trees over time rather than all right away.

Follow through with these tasks in the initial growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then reevaluate your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree becomes more established. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care projects that become more important for your young trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very challenging – in the early years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows bigger, you may see many little branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, but it can actually lead to a very weak tree over time.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it will ultimately look like when it is much larger. As little branches emerge from the lower trunk, they must be removed so they don’t pull water and nutrients away from the branches at the top of the tree.

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

Monitor Your Tree

Growing trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and insect issues. But you’re never truly safe from these issues. As your tree grows larger, monitor it closely for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

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

These signals indicate a health issue. It is probably going to need professional care if your hope is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can typically diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing if deemed necessary.

If you determine the problem quick enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect your growing trees.

The steps above are simple yet 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 chances are probable that the tree will survive and look beautiful!

Of course, you might already have a full schedule and don’t want to take on these additional tasks. In some cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their new trees the appropriate maintenance.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to hire a local tree service for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Vermont can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant. They love sharing their expertise and skills with homeowners planting brand new trees, and they can make the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

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