Post-Planting Tree Care
Every spring many trees are planted. For the most part trees
do a good job of caring for themselves after you plant them, however, some care
is necessary if you want to make sure of your tree’s health in the future.
Trees need to be watered thoroughly when you plant them and
then once a week, depending on the amount of rain, throughout their first
growing season. If you are having an exceptionally hot, dry summer or you are
planting in sandy soil you will need to water more often. If you just lightly
water it will not be enough because it will only wet the soil. In most cases,
the water needs to penetrate 6 to 12 inches in order to actually reach the tree
roots. If water is limited as a result of drought, be sure to give enough water
to your trees or they will die.
Newly-planted trees that are 2-4 feet tall need to be
loosely staked because the catch a lot of wind. If there are things like cords
or wires that wrap around the tree’s trunk they need to be well-padded so that
the tree’s bark and outer growing layers are not damaged. After a year or two
you should remove your stakes because if the root system isn’t already
established it isn’t likely to happen.
Mulch your newly-planted trees to ensure good health in the
future. Create a 4’ or larger circle of compost, wood chips, and other organic
mulch around your tree and make sure it is at least 4” deep to keep the roots
moist, reduce weeds, reduce soil compaction, and create a barrier from the
mower and weed trimmer.
You do not need to fertilize the majority of trees at
planting time. But you do need to fertilize the next two years after planting.
Watch for twig growth to become normal. This tells you the tree is no longer in
shock from transplanting and then it is safe to use a granular fertilizer that
you spread around the tree crown. Make sure to water well.
If you follow these steps watch for problems with insects
and your new tree will give you years of enjoyment.