How to Care for New Trees

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

Once full-grown, trees are simple to care for: another benefit! They are hardy and tend to continue growing even with minimal care. But, if you want to see your trees achieve their full potential, they need a little more effort.

Lack of care for growing trees could cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too complicated, but you do need some tips to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the trees you plant in order to know what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them bloom.

Here, we’ll list the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely know the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and lay out how to complete each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep trees alive, they’ll help them to grow faster, resist damaging 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 on your property 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 can cause the roots to rot.

The general rule is 4-10 gallons of water each week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to add the remaining gallons. Your trees need this much water for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive lawn care product. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can sometimes lead to rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the tree will not survive.

Place mulch 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it out to completely cover the ground under the longest horizontal limb. For brand new trees, this isn’t going to 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 around the tree. Be attentive in spreading it out consistently and far enough away from the trunk of the tree so it does not stop air flow around the tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides nutrients that your land’s soil might not have naturally. Most young trees 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 ideal season to fertilize is early spring. Sometimes early summer also provides the right conditions (mild temperatures and moist soil), but don’t count on it.

If you aren’t sure about which fertilizer to use, consult a tree care specialist for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed your trees over time rather than all right away.

Follow through with these things in the first growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree gets older. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care projects that become more important for your young 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, you will start to see several little branches take off, attempting to become the trunk of the tree. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually lead to a weak tree in the future.

Early trimming shapes the tree into what it will look like when it gets much larger. As tiny branches emerge from the lower trunk, they must be removed so they don’t pull water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be trimmed routinely. When the tree gets too big for you to prune them safely, you can rely on TN Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and insect problems. But you’re never truly safe from these things. As your tree gets older, watch it closely for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Early leaf falling, regardless of whether these leaves appear healthy or sick
  • Withering, regardless of adequate watering
  • Individual limbs dying
  • Bark peeling

These signs likely mean a health issue. It is likely going to need professional maintenance if your plan is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can usually identify the problem by simply looking at your tree, although they will perform testing whenever necessary.

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

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

Of course, you may already have a lot on your plate and don’t want to take on these additional tasks. In many cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary maintenance.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to seek the help of a tree company for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Tennessee can consult with you about the best course of care for each type of tree you plant. Arborists love sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting new trees on their land, and can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call TN Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Tennessee – 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.