How to Care for New Trees

Planting a tree on your property has many benefits. Trees offer much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal. Everyone should plant trees.

Once grown, most trees are very easy to care for: another benefit! Trees are strong and tend to grow with minimal care. But, if you want to help your trees achieve their maximum potential, they need more effort.

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

The good news is that caring for trees isn’t too difficult, but you will want some tips to do it right. Research the new trees you plant to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll describe the five best practices on how to plant a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely know the basics, so let’s dive a little deeper and explain how to complete each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only keep trees alive, they’ll help them to grow faster, resist damaging winds, fight off diseases ,insects 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 are no exception.

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

The general rule 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 add 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 product. It actually helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch incorrectly can sometimes lead to rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that the new tree will not survive.

Place mulch 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it around to completely cover the ground under the longest horizontal limb. For new trees, this won’t be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will grow as well.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

If you are uncertain 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 a period of time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these things in the initial growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then review your watering, mulching and fertilizing as the tree becomes more established. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care projects that are more important for your young trees.

Prune Your Tree

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

Early pruning shapes the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it is much larger. As little branches emerge from the lower trunk, they need to be removed so they don’t steal water and nutrients from the branches at the top.

So long as you have trees somewhere on your land, they need to be trimmed regularly. When the trees get too big for you to trim them safely, you can count on SC Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

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

These signs indicate a health issue. It is probably going to require professional maintenance if your plan is to keep the tree alive. An arborist can identify 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. Being proactive is the best course of action 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 severe, damaging weather, the chances are in your favor that the tree will survive and look wonderful too!

Of course, you might already have a very busy schedule and don’t want to perform these additional tasks. In some cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability to give their new trees the necessary maintenance.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to seek the help of a tree company for the care of new trees. A professional arborist in South Carolina can advise you about the best course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant. Arborists love sharing their knowledge and skills with people planting brand new trees, and can make the difference between trees struggling and trees that thrive.

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