How to Care for New Trees

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

Once completely grown, most trees are easy to care for: another benefit! Trees are hardy and tend to grow despite minimal care. However, if you want to ensure your trees achieve their potential, they need more effort.

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

Fortunately, tree care isn’t too difficult, but you do need a little information to do it right. Research the new trees you plant in order to know what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Below, we’ll list the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely know the basics, so let’s dive deeper and lay out how to perform each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only keep 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 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 have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, as this might cause the roots to rot.

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive lawn care material. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, 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 underneath the longest horizontal limb. For brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will continue to 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 tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides several nutrients that your land’s soil may not naturally have. Most young trees will benefit from fertilizing, but you need to use the correct products and do it at the right time for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

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

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

Follow through with these tasks in the initial growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree becomes more established. As seasons go on, there will be tree care projects that become more important for your new trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very tricky – in the early years after planting a tree. As the tree grows, you may see a lot of small 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 as time goes on.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it will look like when it gets much larger. As tiny limbs emerge from the lower trunk, they need to be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as there are trees growing on your property, they need to be trimmed regularly. When the tree gets too big for you to trim them safely, you can count on MA Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

  • Leaf color change out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf drop, despite whether leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with adequate watering
  • Individual limbs or branches dying
  • Bark peeling

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

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

The tips above are basic yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring any severe, damaging weather, the chances are good that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

Of course, you might already have a very busy schedule and don’t really want to be responsible for these additional tasks. In some cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the appropriate care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to hire a professional for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Massachusetts can advise you about the course of care for each type of tree you plant. Arborists love sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting new trees, and they can make the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

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