How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your land has many benefits. Trees create summer shade, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal and property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, most trees are very simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are hardy and tend to grow with minimal care. But, if you want to see your trees reach their maximum potential, they need more effort.

Lack of care for new trees could lead to rotting, disease, under watering or pest problems.

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t very complicated, but you do need a little information to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the new trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then care for them and watch them flourish.

Below, we’ll describe the five best practices for planting a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely know the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and detail how to do each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

New trees need a lot more water than older ones. The trees you plant on your property 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 soaked, as this can cause some of the roots to rot.

The rule of thumb is 4-10 gallons of water per week. Rain water counts, 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 trees will 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 incorrectly can result in rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that it’s possible 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 underneath the longest horizontal branch. For brand new trees, this won’t 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 vigilant in spreading it out consistently and away from the trunk of the tree so it does not impede air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The ideal season to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer provides the right conditions (comfortable temperatures and wet soil), but don’t count on it.

If you aren’t sure about which fertilizer to use, consult a tree care professional for recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are often a good idea because they feed your trees over a period of time rather than all at once.

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

Trim Your Tree

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

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it will look like when it becomes much larger. As small branches emerge from the lower trunk, they have to 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 pruned regularly. When the trees get too large for you to prune them safely, you can rely on CO Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Growing trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and pest issues. But you’re never truly safe from these things. As your tree grows older, watch it closely for signs of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Early leaf falling, regardless of whether these leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, regardless of adequate watering
  • Single branches or limbs dying
  • Bark peeling off

These signs likely mean a health problem. It is likely going to require professional maintenance if your hope is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can usually diagnose the issue by just looking at the tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

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

The tips above are basic yet effective. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics! When your new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are good that the tree will survive and look wonderful too!

Of course, you might already have a full schedule and don’t really want to be responsible for these additional tasks. In some cases, property owners don’t have the physical ability or the tools to give their growing trees the appropriate care.

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to seek the help of a tree company for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Colorado can advise you about the best course of maintenance for each type of tree you plant on your land. Arborists love sharing their expertise and skills with homeowners planting brand new trees on their land, and they can make the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

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