How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has several benefits. Trees offer much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase property value.

Once full-grown, trees are very simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are strong and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. However, if you want to help your trees reach their full potential, they need a little more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too complicated, but you will want a little information to do it correctly. Research the new trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Below, we’ll explain the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it grow. You probably are aware of the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and detail how to do each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant are no exception.

The root ball of the tree and the soil surrounding it have to be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, as 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 hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to supplement 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 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, that it’s possible that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch exactly 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it out to cover the ground under 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 keeping it spread out consistently and far enough away from the tree trunk so it does not limit air flow around the tree trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides several nutrients your soil might not naturally have. Most young trees benefit from fertilizing, but you have to use the right products and doing it at the right time for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

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

If you aren’t sure about which type of 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 as the tree grows larger. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care tasks that become more important for your new trees.

Trim Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – yet very challenging – in the initial years after planting a tree. As the tree grows, you may see many little branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this means that the tree is healthy and that it is growing well, it can actually lead to a weak tree as time goes on.

Early pruning helps to shape the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it gets much larger. As small limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t pull water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees on your land, they need to be trimmed periodically. When the trees get too big for you to prune them safely, you can count on MT Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and pest problems. But you’re never completely safe from these things. As your tree gets larger, watch it closely for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Early leaf drop, despite whether leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Withering, regardless of adequate watering
  • Individual limbs or branches dying
  • Bark peeling off

These signals likely mean a health problem. It is probably going to need professional care if your goal is to save the tree. A certified arborist can typically diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing if necessary.

If you discover the issue early enough, you will likely be able to save the tree. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect your growing trees.

The tips above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When your new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that they will survive and look beautiful too!

Of course, you could already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to take on these additional tasks. In most cases, property owners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their growing trees the appropriate care.

Whatever the situation, it’s a good idea to hire a tree service for the care of new trees. A certified arborist in Montana can consult with you about the best course of care for each tree species you plant on your property. They love sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting new trees, and can make the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

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