How to Care for New Trees

Planting trees on your property has many benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, create privacy, filter polluted air and increase curb appeal and property value.

Once grown, trees are simple to care for: another benefit! Trees are strong and tend to continue growing despite minimal care. But, if you want to help your trees reach their full potential, they need a little more effort.

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

The good news is that caring for trees isn’t very complicated, but you will want some tips to do it right. Educate yourself with the new trees you plant in order to know exactly what they need to succeed. Then properly care for them and watch them bloom.

Here, we’ll explain the five best tips for planting a new tree and seeing it thrive. You likely know the basics, so we’ll dive a little deeper and lay out how to do 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, withstand damaging winds, fight off diseases ,insects and pests and create more leaves, buds 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 all around it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get too wet, as this might cause the roots to rot.

The rule of thumb is 4-10 gallons of water each week. Rain water also counts, and although it’s hard to get an exact reading, a rain gauge can help get you close enough to add the rest. Your new trees need this much water for the initial 2-3 growing seasons.

Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulch is much more than an attractive landscaping product. It also helps protect new trees, especially the roots. But laying mulch the wrong way can sometimes cause rotting and decay – so much so, in fact, that it’s possible that the tree will not survive.

Place mulch 3 inches away from the tree trunk and spread it around to completely cover the ground under the longest horizontal branch. For brand new trees, this isn’t going to be very far, but as the tree grows, your mulch area will continue to grow substantially.

Keep the mulch 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 trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

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

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

If you are uncertain about which type of fertilizer to use, consult a tree care professional for advice. Slow-release fertilizers are typically a good idea because they feed your trees over time rather than all at once.

Follow through with these things in the initial growing seasons after planting a tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree grows larger. As time goes on, there will be additional tree care tasks that are more important for new trees.

Prune Your Tree

Tree pruning is very important – yet very challenging – in the first years after you plant a tree. As the tree grows, you will see a lot of small branches take off, competing to become the trunk of the tree. While you may think this shows that the tree is healthy and growing well, but it can actually lead to a weak tree in the future.

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it is going to ultimately look like when it becomes much larger. As small branches emerge from the lower trunk, they need to be removed so they don’t suck water and nutrients from the branches at the top.

So long as you have trees growing on your property, they need to be pruned regularly. When the tree gets too large for you to trim them safely, you can rely on HI Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

Young trees are at the highest 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, with leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Early leaf falling, regardless of whether these leaves look healthy or sick
  • Withering, despite adequate watering
  • Individual branches or limbs dying
  • Peeling bark

These signals indicate a health problem. It is probably going to need professional care if your hope is to save the tree. A certified arborist can identify the issue by simply looking at your tree, although they will do testing whenever necessary.

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

The steps above are simple yet effective. Don’t underestimate the value of the basics! When new trees have pruning, fertilizer and more,, combined with sunshine and barring any severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that the tree will survive and will look wonderful!

Of course, you might already have a lot on your plate and don’t really want to take on these additional tasks. In many cases, homeowners don’t have the ability to give their new trees the appropriate maintenance.

No matter the situation, it’s ok to contact a local tree service for caring for new trees. A certified arborist in Hawaii can consult with you about the course of care for each tree species you plant on your property. Arborists love sharing their expertise and skills with people planting new trees on their land, and they can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees that thrive.

Call HI Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree care in Hawaii – including tree trimming – for newer trees and older trees. A local tree service can determine the best plan for your trees! Locate your city in our service area here.