Planting season has come and gone- but that doesn’t mean your trees can do the rest on their own. You found a species that best suited your needs and planted it where it has enough room to grow and thrive. Since you did the research to plant the right tree in the right location, it is already off to a great start.
Transplanting to its forever home may be stressful for the tree. The first 2-3 years are crucial for your tree to become established in the soil. Be sure to give extra attention to your tree so that they feel at home in your yard.
During trees’ first growing seasons, it is using most of its energy to establish a stable root system. Deep watering will help your tree combat any excess heat or drought. Watering is an essential part of tree care. Newly planted trees should be watered every week for moisture and oxygen. Direct water to the surrounding soil and root ball, not the trunk. It is difficult to recommend the exact amount of water due to such a wide variety of tree species and climate throughout the US. Aim for moist soil, not soggy. Most new trees should receive between 10-15 gallons a week. Aim to ensure that your tree gets watered every 2-3 days. Check the soil (not mulch) under the canopy if it is dry- time for watering! Dry leaves are also an indication that your soil needs moisture.
Mulch is a new tree’s best friend. Maintained mulch has numerous benefits for your tree. Natural wood-based (bark and wood chips) mulch assists in moisture retention, insulation, while preventing soil compaction, creating a barrier for lawnmowers, and weed control. Extend mulch as far as the tree’s drip zone (or beyond this border). The drip zone is the perimeter of the trees canopy, the distance of the branches. This area can be anywhere from 3-10 foot area, see figure below. Be sure that the mulch is not touching the trunk. Your mulch donut should begin approx—4 inches from the trunk.
Photo accessed from The Allan Block Blog.
Please share your newly planted trees and techniques with us in our Fighting Climate Change with Trees group!
Disclaimer: Most new trees do not require stakes unless they are planted in an extremely windy environment or slope. I took the featured photo while a local landscaping company did the planting.