How to Care for New Trees

Planting new trees on your land has several benefits. Trees create much-needed summer shade, filter contaminated air and increase curb appeal and property value.

Once grown, trees are pretty easy to maintain: another benefit! Trees are hardy and tend to continue growing even with minimal care. But, if you want to see your trees reach their potential, they need more effort.

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

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

Below, we’ll describe the five best tips on how to plant a new tree and seeing it grow. You likely are familiar with the basics, so we’ll dive deeper and explain how to complete each step correctly.

Tree Care Tips for New Trees

These tips will not only help keep your trees alive, they’ll help them grow much faster, resist damaging gusts of wind, 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 ball of the tree and the soil all around it need be kept moist, but don’t let it get soaked, as this can cause some of the roots to rot.

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

Mulch Around Your Trees

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

Place mulch exactly 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree and spread it around to cover the ground under the longest horizontal limb. For 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 no less than 2 to 4 inches thick in all areas around the tree. Be vigilant in spreading it out consistently and far enough away from the tree trunk so it does not stop air flow around the trunk.

Fertilize Around Your Tree

Fertilizer provides many nutrients your soil may not naturally have. Most young trees benefit from fertilizing, but you need to be using the right products and doing it at the correct time for fertilizer to be most beneficial.

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

If you are unsure about which fertilizer to use, speak to 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 right away.

Follow through with these things in the first few growing seasons after planting a new tree, and then reconsider your watering, mulching and fertilizing needs as the tree grows larger. As seasons go on, there will be additional tree care projects that become more important for new trees.

Trim Your Tree

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

Early trimming helps to shape the tree into what it will ultimately look like when it is much larger. As tiny limbs emerge on the lower trunk, they must be cut off so they don’t suck water and nutrients away from the branches at the top of the tree.

As long as there are trees somewhere on your land, they need to be trimmed regularly. When the tree gets too big for you to trim them safely, you can count on IL Tree Trimming to do the job for you.

Monitor Your Tree

New trees are at the highest risk for damage, disease and pest problems. But you’re never truly safe from these issues. As your tree gets older, monitor it carefully for evidence of disease or poor nutrition, including the following:

  • Leaf color change out of season, especially leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Premature leaf drop, regardless of whether leaves appear healthy or diseased
  • Wilting, even with proper watering
  • Individual branches dying
  • Peeling bark

These signals indicate a health problem. It is likely going to need professional care if your goal is to keep the tree alive. A certified arborist can often identify the problem 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. Being proactive is the best course of action to protect growing 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 sunshine and barring severe, damaging weather, the odds are probable that they will survive and look beautiful too!

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

Whatever the situation, it’s ok to hire a local tree service for the care of new trees. A certified arborist in Illinois can advise you about the best course of care for each type of tree you plant on your property. They love sharing their expertise and skills with homeowners planting new trees, and can be the difference between trees that struggle and trees that thrive.

Call IL Tree Trimming now for information on routine tree maintenance in Illinois – 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.