How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your property has several benefits. Trees provide summer shade, create privacy, filter contaminated air and increase property value.

Once completely grown, trees are easy to maintain: another benefit! They are strong and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. But, if you want to ensure your trees achieve their maximum potential, they need more effort.

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

The good news is that caring for trees isn’t all that complicated, but you will want some tips to do it correctly. Educate yourself with the trees you plant to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll describe the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are aware of the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and detail how to do each step correctly.

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 extreme winds, fight off diseases ,insects 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 ball of the tree and the soil around it should be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, because this can cause some of the roots to rot.

The best practice is 4-10 gallons of water each week. This includes rain water, 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 need this much water every week for the initial 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 lead to rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the tree will not survive.

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

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides the 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 for fertilizer to be most impactful.

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

If you aren’t sure about which type of fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care specialist for advice. 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 reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree gets older. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care projects that become more important for new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – yet very challenging – in the early years after planting a tree. As the tree grows, you may see many 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 lead to a weak tree as time goes on.

Early pruning shapes 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 removed so they don’t pull water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees on your land, they need to be pruned periodically. When the tree gets too big for you to prune them safely, you can count on IA 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 completely safe from these issues. As your tree grows older, monitor it closely for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Early leaf falling, regardless of whether leaves look healthy or sick
  • Withering, despite adequate watering
  • Individual branches dying
  • Peeling bark

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

If you determine the problem early enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect new trees.

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

Of course, you might already have a lot on your plate and don’t really want to perform these additional lawn care projects. In most cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their growing trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to hire a local tree service for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Iowa can consult with you about the course of care for each tree species you plant on your land. Arborists love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting brand new trees, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees that thrive.

Call IA Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Iowa – 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.