How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has many benefits. Trees give summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value. Everyone should plant trees.

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

Lack of care for growing trees can cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest issues.

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too complicated, but you will want a little information to do it right. Research the trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need. Then properly 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 grow. You likely are familiar with the basics, so let’s 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 grow faster, resist extreme winds, fight off diseases and pests and create more leaves, flowers 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 around it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, because this can cause some of the roots to rot.

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping material. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch incorrectly can lead to rotting and decay – so much so, that the new tree will not survive.

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

Keep the mulch at least 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas. Be attentive in spreading it out consistently and far enough 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 naturally have. Most new trees can benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the correct products and do it at the right time for fertilizer to be most impactful.

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

If you are unsure about which fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care professional for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are often a good idea because they feed your 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 review your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree gets older. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care tasks that become more important for young trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very tricky – in the first years after planting a tree. As the tree grows, you will start to see a lot of small branches take off, competing to become the trunk of the tree. While you may think this shows that the tree is healthy and that it is growing well, but it can actually lead to a very weak tree in the future.

Early trimming shapes the tree into what it is going to look like when it becomes much larger. As small branches emerge on the lower trunk, they need to be cut off so they don’t suck water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

So long as there are trees somewhere 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 MO Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

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

These signals likely mean a health problem. The tree is likely going to require professional maintenance if your hope is to save the tree. A certified arborist can identify the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will perform testing whenever 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 younger trees.

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

Of course, you may already have a full schedule and don’t really want to take on these additional tasks. In many cases, property owners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to contact a tree company for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Missouri can advise you about the course of care for each tree species you plant. They enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting new trees, and can make the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

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