How to Care For Your New Tree

How to Care for Your New Tree

After your new tree is installed, there are a few tree-care tips to remember, ensuring your tree's survival. 

Water is KEY!  Watering is the key to a tree's survival during the first year.  The question we are always asked is how much, and how often? 

A new tree should be watered deeply once or twice a week when there is no rainfall.  Slowly apply at least 1" of water to the planting site - the easiest way to do this is to turn the hose on to a trickle and leave it at the base of the planting site for around 15-30 minutes.   You can also install a Gator Bag or similar watering tool, found at most garden stores.   Continue to water through the first growing season or longer if dry conditions exist.

If an automatic irrigation is present, talk to the technician to be sure the tree is watered properly. The technician can change and/or redirect an irrigation head and re-program the irrigation time needed.

Be careful to not over-water.  It is possible to kill a plant with kindness.   Overwatering may cause the roots to rot and this can lead to the death of your tree.  If you are not sure whether water is needed, dig down at least 3-4" (past the mulch layer) and check for moisture in the soil.   If the soil is not damp, it is time to water.  There is no substitution for physically verifying the moisture content of the soil.

Keep the Tree Safe:  Keep lawn mowers, string trimmers, and general traffic away from the tree using a mulch mower zone (this is a mulch ring installed around the newly planted tree).

Maintain the Mulch:  Mulch is very important.  It keeps moisture in, temperatures steady and weeds down.  Make sure it is not more than four inches deep or piled against the trunk. Weed and replace mulch in mulch mower zone as needed.

Stakes:  MTC&L installs trees without tree stakes unless high wind or traffic conditions exist.    If a tree is staked when installed, we encourage the removal of stakes and guying after one year.

Pruning:  After the first year or two (when the plant has become established), selective pruning may be recommended to develop a strong structure. 

Fertilization:  When your tree is installed, we make sure it will have all the nutrients it needs for the first growing season.