How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your land has several benefits. Trees provide summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase property value.

Once full-grown, trees are pretty simple to maintain: another benefit! Trees are strong and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. However, if you want to ensure your trees reach their maximum potential, they need a little more effort.

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

The good news is that tree care isn’t very difficult, but you will want a little information to do it right. Familiarize yourself with the trees you plant to know exactly what they need. Then properly care for them and watch them flourish.

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

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

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

Water Your Tree

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

The root of the tree and the soil surrounding it should be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, as this might cause the roots to rot.

The popular recommendation is 4-10 gallons of water per week. This includes rain water, and although it’s hard to have an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to add the rest. Your new trees will need this much water every week for the first 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is more than an attractive lawn care product. It helps protect new trees, especially the roots underground. But laying mulch the wrong way can lead to rotting and decay – so much so, that the tree will not survive.

Place mulch exactly 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it out to cover the ground underneath the longest limb. For brand new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will also grow substantially.

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

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

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

Follow through with these tasks 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 become more important for your new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree trimming is very important – but very tricky – in the early years after you plant a new tree. As the tree grows bigger, you may see several little branches take off, competing to become the trunk of the tree. While 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 helps to shape the tree into what it will ultimately look like when it gets much larger. As little limbs emerge from the lower trunk, they have to be removed so they don’t suck water and nutrients away from the upper branches.

As long as there are trees growing somewhere on your property, they need to be trimmed routinely. When the trees get too big for you to trim them safely, you can count on NJ Tree Trimming to do it for you.

Monitor Your Tree

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

  • Leaf color changing out of season, especially leaves turning yellow or brown
  • Premature leaf falling, regardless of whether leaves look healthy or sick
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Single limbs dying
  • Bark peeling off

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

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

The steps above are basic but effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When new trees have proper care, combined with sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the chances are probable that the tree will survive and look beautiful too!

Of course, you may already have a lot on your plate and don’t want to be responsible for these additional lawn care projects. In most cases, property owners don’t have the ability to give their new trees the necessary care.

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea to hire a tree service for caring for new trees. A professional arborist in New Jersey can advise you about the course of care for each type of tree you plant on your land. They enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with homeowners planting new trees, and can make the difference between trees struggling and trees thriving.

Call NJ Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in New Jersey – including tree trimming – for newer trees and old trees. An arborists will determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.