How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has several benefits. Trees give summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value. Everyone should plant trees.

Once full-grown, most trees are simple to maintain: 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 a little more effort.

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

Fortunately, caring for trees isn’t too difficult, but you do need some tips to do it correctly. Educate yourself with the trees you plant to know what they need. Then properly 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 grow. You probably are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and detail how to complete each step.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These five tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them to grow faster, stand up to strong winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and create more leaves, flowers or fruit.

Water Your Tree

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

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

The best practice is 4-10 gallons of water each 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 first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive landscaping material. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch incorrectly can result in rotting and decay – so much so, 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 underneath 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 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant in spreading it out consistently and away from the trunk of the tree so it does not limit air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

The perfect time to fertilize is during early spring. Sometimes early summer also provides good conditions (mild temperatures and wet 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 recommendations. Slow-release fertilizers are often a good idea because they feed trees over a period of time rather than all right away.

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

Prune Your Tree

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

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

As long as you have trees growing 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 MI Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the most risk for damage, disease and insect issues. But you’re never 100% safe from these things. As your tree gets older, monitor it carefully for evidence of disease or bad nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color changing out of season, with leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Premature leaf falling, regardless of whether leaves look healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Individual limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

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

If you identify the problem early enough, you will likely 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 pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with some sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are in your favor that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

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

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to contact a local tree service for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in Michigan can consult with you about the course of maintenance for each tree species you plant on your property. They love sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting brand new trees on their land, and can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees thriving.

Call MI Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Michigan – including tree pruning – for newer trees and older trees. An arborists can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.