Trees are truly the backbone of the landscape. They provide much-needed shade, refuge for wildlife, and so much more. Trees which are well planted and well cared-for in their early years may live for hundreds of years for countless generations to enjoy. How a newly planted tree is cared for in its first few seasons of growth is crucial. Both deciduous trees (shade trees and ornamentals) and evergreens (pines, spruces) have similar care requirements.
- Slightly moist, well-drained soil is preferable. Because of their great size and extensive root systems, most trees can adapt to less than ideal soil conditions.
- Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the tree greatly improves the moisture retention of the soil, adds organic matter as it decomposes, and protects the trunk from lawn mower or trimmer damage.
- Keeping a new tree watered during its first summer is critical. Trees should receive a deep watering, by hand, 2-3 times/week during extreme heat and drought. It is very important that trees are watered deeply. Sprinkler coverage is not sufficient for newly planted trees. Deep watering encourages the roots to become strong and extensive.
- In the spring and fall water 1-2 times/week if there is not adequate rainfall, and continue to water until frost.
- New trees will need occasional watering during a very dry winter as well.
Only corrective pruning should be done to new trees. Remove any dead or crossing branches, which will interfere with the tree’s structure. As many branches as possible should be left intact. Consult with an arborist before pruning large, well-established trees.
Fertilization at planting time is not necessary. In subsequent years, fertilizer can be applied either at the soil surface or through root feeders, which penetrate into the ground to feed the roots directly.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT ANY TWINE LEFT TIED AROUND THE ROOTBALL OR TRUNK IS CUT AND UNTIED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF PLANTING. Burlap and twine are purposely left intact at the time of planting to hold the rootball together, however, twine decomposes very slowly and will severely inhibit growth if not eventually removed. Any stakes or other material wrapped around the trunk should be removed within one year as well.
Plant Care Guidelines