Caring For Your Newly Planted Tree

Caring For Your Newly Planted Tree

In this episode of the Arbor Day Foundation's (2018) "Ask an Arborist," Certified Arborist Mary Sweeney discusses when and how to water newly planted trees. 
Arbor Day Foundation (2018)

Newly planted trees will require attention for at least three years after planting and water is the most important maintenance practice. The amount of water required, however, is dependent on weather, site soil conditions, type of tree and time of planting. Below are a few tips for keeping your new tree healthy and green.

Trees generally require the equivalent of one (1) inch of rainwater each week. Before watering, examine the soil a few inches deep. If the soil is dry, it needs water. Place a slow-trickling hose near the drip zone of the tree for several hours or until the soil is thoroughly soaked. Irrigation bags can also be used. If using a sprinkler, place a wide can in the drip zone of the tree and water until the can is filled up to two (2) inches. During the warm months of summer, you may need to fill the irrigation bag twice per week if drought conditions exist. Do not fill the bag more than twice per week, or during times of consistent rainfall, as excess water may kill your new tree.

Mulch will be provided for parkway trees at the time of planting which helps keep the soil moist, helps control weed growth and improves soil conditions. Please maintain the mulch ring that the City establishes by placing a 2”-4” layer of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping the mulch a few inches off of the tree trunk. This will discourage rodent damage, rotting of the trunk and growth of adventitious roots that could girdle and choke the tree. The mulch ring should extend one to two feet beyond the planting area and mulch should not exceed 2”-4”.

Staking is generally not required. Should the tree shift and lean, pull the tree back into a straight position and tamp the earth down around the trunk with your foot. Stakes should be removed within one year. The Forestry Division will take care of pruning the new tree when required.

Fertilizer can help maintain trees but it is recommended to wait two growing seasons after planting before applying.  Fertilizer should be applied in April and late October.

Avoid hitting the trunk of the tree with lawnmowers and string-trimmers. These machines can cause permanent damage because young trees have very thin bark.

Please do not plant any flowers, grass, perennials, etc. around the base of the tree as they will damage the root system. The City does not allow the building of any structures (landscape timbers, walls, etc.) on the parkway. These structures are detrimental to the tree and are against city policy.