How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has several benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase property value.

Once full-grown, trees are pretty simple to maintain: another benefit! They are strong and tend to grow with minimal care. But, if you want to ensure your trees reach their full potential, they need a little more effort.

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

Fortunately, tree care isn’t too difficult, but you will want some tips to do it correctly. Research the new trees you plant to know what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them bloom.

Below, we’ll outline the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely know the basics, so let’s dive deeper and lay out how to complete each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than grown ones. The trees you plant on your property are no exception.

The root ball of the tree and the soil surrounding it should 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. 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 new trees will need this much water every week for the initial 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive landscaping product. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch incorrectly can cause rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the 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 brand new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will also grow as well.

Keep the mulch 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant in keeping it spread out consistently and far enough away from the trunk of the tree so it does not impede air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The best season 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, consult a tree care specialist for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are usually a good idea because they feed trees over a period of time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these things in the first growing seasons after planting a tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree gets older. As time goes on, there will be tree care tasks that are more important for new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – but very challenging – in the early years after planting a new tree. As the tree grows, you may see a lot of small branches take off, competing to become the trunk of the tree. You may think this shows that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually lead to a very weak tree over time.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it will ultimately look like when it becomes much larger. As small branches emerge from the lower trunk, they have to be removed so they don’t pull water and nutrients away from the branches at the top of the tree.

So long as there are trees on your property, they need to be trimmed routinely. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can count on KS Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and pest problems. But you’re never 100% safe from these things. As your tree grows larger, watch it carefully for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf falling, regardless of whether these leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Withering, despite adequate watering
  • Single limbs or branches dying
  • Peeling bark

These signs likely mean a health issue. The tree is probably going to need professional maintenance if your hope is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can usually identify the problem by simply looking at your tree, although they will perform testing if necessary.

If you discover the issue early enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect growing trees.

The steps above are simple but effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are good that they will survive and will look beautiful too!

Of course, you may already have a full schedule and don’t really want to perform these additional lawn care projects. In many cases, homeowners don’t have the physical ability to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to contact a professional for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in Kansas can consult with you about the course of care for each tree species you plant on your land. Arborists love sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting new trees, and they can make the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call KS Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Kansas – 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.