How to Care for New Trees

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

Once full-grown, trees are pretty simple to maintain: another benefit! They are durable and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. But, if you want to help your trees reach their potential, they need a little more effort.

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

The good news is that tree care isn’t very complicated, but you do need some tips to do it right. Research the new trees you plant to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Below, we’ll outline the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely are aware of the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and explain how to do each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them to grow much faster, resist extreme winds, fight off diseases and pests and create more leaves, flowers 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 of the tree and the soil around it have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, because this can cause the roots to rot.

The popular recommendation is 4-10 gallons of water every week. Rain water also counts, and although it’s difficult to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to supplement the remaining gallons. 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 landscaping product. It actually 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 it’s possible that the tree will not survive.

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

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

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

Follow through with these things 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 new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very challenging – in the first years after you plant a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you will see a lot of small branches take off, competing to become the tree’s trunk. While you may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually result in a weak tree in the future.

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

So long as there are trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be pruned periodically. When the tree gets too big for you to trim them safely, you can trust PA Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and pest problems. But you’re never 100% safe from these issues. As your tree gets larger, monitor it carefully for signs of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, with leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Early leaf drop, regardless of whether leaves appear healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, regardless of proper watering
  • Single limbs or branches dying
  • Bark peeling off

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

If you catch the problem early enough, you will probably be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect new trees.

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

Of course, you could already have a full schedule and don’t want to perform these additional tasks. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the ability to give their growing trees the appropriate maintenance.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional for caring for new trees. A certified arborist in Pennsylvania can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each tree species you plant on your land. Arborists love sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting new trees on their land, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call PA Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Pennsylvania – 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.