How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your land has many benefits. Trees give much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value.

Once completely grown, most trees are very simple to care for: another benefit! They are durable and tend to grow even with minimal care. However, if you want to help your trees achieve their full potential, they need a little more effort.

Lack of care for young trees can cause rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too difficult, but you do need some tips to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll describe the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely know the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and lay out how to do each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only keep trees alive, they’ll help them to grow much faster, stand up to damaging 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 grown ones. The trees you plant on your land are no exception.

The root of the tree and the soil around it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, as this can cause some of the roots to rot.

The rule of thumb 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 for the initial 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping material. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch the wrong way can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, that the 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 branch. For brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, 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 trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The perfect time to fertilize is early spring. Sometimes early summer provides good conditions (mild temperatures and wet 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 tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree grows larger. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care projects that become more important for your young trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very challenging – in the early years after planting a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you will see several small branches take off, trying to become the trunk of the tree. 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 as time goes on.

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

As long as you have trees on your property, they need to be trimmed routinely. When the tree gets too large for you to prune them safely, you can trust GA Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf falling, despite whether these leaves appear healthy or sick
  • Wilting, regardless of adequate watering
  • Single branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs indicate a health issue. It is likely going to need professional care if your hope is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can often identify the problem by simply looking at the tree, although they will perform testing whenever necessary.

If you catch the issue 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 proper care, combined with some sunshine and barring any severe, damaging weather, the chances are good that the tree will survive and look beautiful!

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

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

Call GA Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Georgia – 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.