Your beautiful new tree has just been planted in the earth, and now it’s your responsibility to see it grow up healthy and strong for many years to come. Caring for trees isn’t difficult, but there are some very important tips you should take note of so you don’t disrupt its growth.
We’ve planted hundreds of trees in the Los Angeles area since we were founded in 1982, and we know what it takes to keep your trees thriving for many years to come. Follow this simple new tree care advice from our tree planting professionals.
Different Types of Tree Planting
There are multiple ways your tree can be planted. Seedlings or young trees come in various stages of maturity, and how you care for trees depends on how you purchase them.
- Container-grown trees (also known as containerized trees). When trees are grown in containers, they’re semi-mature and their entire root system is intact. This helps prevent tree shock when your tree changes environments.
- Balled and burlapped young trees. With this type of tree, the root system is balled up in burlap. The root ball should be firm and sizable. The burlap is cut away during planting, which is a relatively easy process.
- Bare root seedlings. These roots have been cleaned of soil and are very small. The roots will be roughly as long as the stem. Keep the roots moist and cool until it’s time to plant. Make sure you don’t risk exposing seedlings to frost.
You can also purchase mature trees grown in the ground and have professionals move them. Generally, more mature trees are more expensive, but they’re also the easiest to handle, have the simplest new tree care, and will look better much faster.
Learn When To Stake Young Trees
If you had your tree professionally planted, they will stake the tree for you if they decide it needs one. If you’re planting the tree yourself, however, you should do your research to see if and how you should stake your tree for support.
A tree should be staked if it’s thin and prone to breaking, especially if you live in areas of strong winds. A tree is unstable if its roots haven’t yet found a firm footing in their new home, and can’t hold the tree up. Trees that need stakes are usually about 2-4 feet tall, but they can vary depending on the thickness.
Stake your tree loosely! A tree needs to bend a bit in order to grow naturally. The stake is just to prevent it from falling over or snapping in strong winds.
Wrap the stake with something that won’t damage the tree’s bark, and use soft padding if you’re going to use wire. You don’t want to forget about the cable and come back in a few months and realize your tree’s bark has been damaged by growing into the wire.
Remove your stake after 1-2 years, or when its root system is well established. This is an essential step for new tree care — your tree’s life is “at stake”.
Water Your New Tree When Young
Very young trees have to be watered regularly like plants. You should thoroughly water your plant at the time of planting and once a week for the first season it’s been planted.
If you’ve had a lot of rain, you might not need to water it. Check to see if the soil is moist about a foot deep, and don’t assume the soil is wet after a light sprinkle. Keep on top of watering as part of your new tree care regimen.
Check for Pests & Diseases Regularly
Even after you’ve planted and cared for your tree for a few months, the maintenance doesn’t end. You always need to keep on top of your regular pest and disease checks.
Plant In The Right Season
Depending on your climate, most trees should be planted in spring. Planting in spring gives the tree the maximum amount of time to enjoy warm weather and sunlight before the winter hits.
If you live in a place with year-round sun or a desert climate, new tree care may vary significantly. Care may also depend on the type of tree you plan. Consult a tree professional for advice on your specific tree and landscape conditions.
Don’t Fertilize At First
Fertilizers can cause significant damage to young trees and should be avoided at all costs. Even fertilizers that are designed to avoid grass are likely to seep through the ground and harm the roots of your tree. Avoid fertilizers for at least two years after planting your tree. For most trees, fertilization is not necessary at all throughout the course of their life.
If you have to fertilize, wait at least until the tree’s shock has subsided. You’ll know when it’s not shocked anymore when it has a normal twig growth rate.
Mulch Around Your New Tree
Mulching around your tree is a great way to care for trees. Mulching ensures they get through the shock phase and settle in nicely. Mulch around a tree in an area with at least a 4-foot diameter and at least 4 inches deep, according to Utah State Forestry. Mulch gives your tree essential nutrients, moisture, weed control, and consistency that trees like.
Call Gutierrez & Sons for Personalized Advice
Gutierrez & Sons Landscaping has been planting healthy trees in the greater Los Angeles area for decades. We know the essential new tree care steps so your planting goes off without a hitch. We also offer a free consultation and personalized advice for your specific situation. Contact us to get started.