How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your property has several benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal. Everyone should plant trees.

Once grown, most trees are simple to maintain: another benefit! Trees are strong and tend to continue growing even with minimal care. But, if you want to see your trees achieve their full 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 very complicated, but you do need some tips to do it right. Research the trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll describe the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You probably know the basics, so let’s dive deeper and lay out 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 to grow faster, resist extreme gusts of wind, fight off diseases and pests and produce more leaves, flowers or fruit.

Water Your Tree

New trees need more water than well-established ones. The trees you plant on your property are no exception.

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

The rule of thumb is 4-10 gallons of water per week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can get you close enough to supplement the remaining gallons. 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 actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes lead to 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 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 continue to grow substantially.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The perfect time of year to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer provides the right conditions (mild temperatures and moist soil), but don’t count on it.

If you aren’t sure about which type of fertilizer to use, speak to a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed your trees over a period of time rather than all right away.

Follow through with these tasks in the first growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reevaluate your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree becomes more established. As seasons go on, there will be tree care tasks that are more important for your young trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very tricky – in the first years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows, you will start to see many little branches take off, attempting to become the tree’s trunk. You may think this shows that the tree is healthy and growing well, it can actually lead to a very weak tree in the future.

Early trimming shapes the tree into what it will ultimately look like when it gets much larger. As small limbs emerge from the lower trunk, they have to be cut off so they don’t steal water and nutrients from the upper branches.

So long as you have trees on your property, they need to be pruned periodically. When the trees get too big for you to prune them safely, you can count on NC 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 closely for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, especially leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Premature leaf falling, despite whether leaves appear healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Individual branches dying
  • Bark peeling off

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

If you catch the issue quick enough, you will probably be able to save the tree from dying. Being proactive is the best way to protect younger trees.

The steps above are simple yet 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 probable that they will survive and will look beautiful!

Of course, you may already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to take on these additional lawn care projects. In some cases, homeowners don’t have the ability or the tools to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to hire a local tree service for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in North Carolina can consult with you about the best course of care for each tree species you plant on your land. Arborists enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting brand new trees, and can make the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

Call NC Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in North Carolina – including tree trimming – for new trees and older trees. An arborists can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.