How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your property has many benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase property value.

Once full-grown, trees are simple to care for: another benefit! They are durable and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. However, if you want to see your trees reach their maximum potential, they need more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t all that difficult, but you do need a little information to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Here, we’ll list the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are familiar with the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and lay out how to complete each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need 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 have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, because this might cause some of the roots to rot.

The best practice is 4-10 gallons of water every week. This includes rain water, and although it’s challenging to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to add the rest. Your new trees need this much water every week for the initial 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive landscaping product. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can lead to rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the new tree will not survive.

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

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The best 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 specialist for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are usually a good idea because they feed trees over time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these things in the first few growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree gets older. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care tasks that become more important for your young trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very tricky – in the early years after planting a tree. As the tree grows, you will start to see many little branches take off, attempting to become the trunk of the tree. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and growing well, but it can actually result in a weak tree in the future.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it is going to look like when it is much larger. As small branches emerge on the lower trunk, they need to be cut off so they don’t suck water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees growing on your land, they need to be pruned regularly. When the tree gets too large for you to prune them safely, you can trust ME Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and insect problems. But you’re never completely safe from these things. As your tree grows older, monitor it carefully for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

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

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

If you identify the issue early enough, you will likely be able to save the tree from dying. 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 any severe, damaging weather, the chances are probable that the tree will survive and will look beautiful!

Of course, you might already have a lot on your plate and don’t want to perform these additional lawn care projects. In some cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability to give their new trees the appropriate maintenance.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to seek the help of a professional for caring for new trees. A certified arborist in Maine can advise you about the best course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant on your land. Arborists enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting new trees, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees that thrive.

Call ME Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Maine – 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.