How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has several benefits. Trees offer summer shade, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, trees are pretty 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 full potential, they need more effort.

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

The good news is that tree care isn’t all that difficult, but you will want a little information to do it right. Research the trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll outline 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 explain how to complete each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only keep your trees alive, they’ll help them grow much faster, stand up to strong winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and produce more leaves, buds or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant on your property are no exception.

The root ball of the tree and the soil surrounding it need 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 hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to add the remaining gallons. Your new trees need this much water for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

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

Place mulch 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it around to completely cover the ground under the longest horizontal branch. For new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will also grow as well.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides nutrients that your land’s soil may not have naturally. 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 beneficial.

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

If you are uncertain about which fertilizer to use, consult a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed trees over a period of time rather than all at once.

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

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very tricky – in the early years after you plant a new tree. As the tree grows, you may see a lot of little branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, 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 on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

As long as there are trees growing on your land, they need to be pruned regularly. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can rely on IN Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and insect problems. But you’re never completely safe from these issues. As your tree grows older, watch it closely for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

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

These signs likely mean a health issue. It is likely going to need professional care if your hope is to save the tree. An experienced arborist can diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

If you catch the issue quick enough, you will likely be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best way to protect new trees.

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

Of course, you could already have a very busy schedule and don’t really want to perform these additional lawn care projects. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their growing trees the appropriate care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to contact a tree service for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Indiana can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each tree species you plant. They enjoy sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees, and they can be the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

Call IN Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Indiana – including tree trimming – for newer trees and older trees. An arborists will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.