How to Care for New Trees

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

Once full-grown, most trees are simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are durable and tend to grow despite minimal care. But, if you want to see your trees achieve their potential, they need more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t very difficult, but you will want a little information to do it correctly. Familiarize yourself with the trees you plant to know what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll describe the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive a little 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 grow faster, withstand extreme gusts of wind, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, flowers or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

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

The rule of thumb is 4-10 gallons of water every week. This includes rain water, and although it’s challenging to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can help 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 much more than an attractive lawn care material. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots. 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 exactly 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it out to completely cover the ground underneath the longest horizontal branch. For new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree continues to grow, your mulch area will grow substantially.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides the nutrients your soil might not have naturally. Most young trees benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the correct products and doing it at the right time for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

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

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

Follow through with these things in the first few growing seasons after planting a tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree gets older. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care tasks that are more important for your young trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very tricky – in the first years after planting a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you will start to see many small 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, but it can actually result in a very weak tree over time.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it is much larger. As small limbs emerge from the lower trunk, they must be removed so they don’t suck water and nutrients away from the branches at the top.

As long as there are trees on your land, they need to be pruned periodically. When the trees get too large for you to trim them safely, you can count on NE Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Premature leaf drop, despite whether these leaves appear healthy or sick
  • Withering, even with proper watering
  • Individual branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

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

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

The steps above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When your new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are probable that they will survive and will look wonderful too!

Of course, you could already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to take on these additional tasks. In some cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability to give their growing trees the necessary care.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to contact a professional for caring for new trees. A certified arborist in Nebraska can advise you about the best course of maintenance for each tree species you plant on your property. Arborists enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting brand new trees, and can make the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

Call NE Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Nebraska – including tree pruning – for newer trees and old trees. An arborists can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.