Tree Care

Tree Watering

  • Watering Trees During First Two Years: During the first couple growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy trying to get its roots established in the soil. Especially during the first few summers of your new trees life, it will have a difficult time dealing with heat and drought. You can make this easier by providing water and covering the soil with wood-chip mulch. Deep watering can help speed the root establishment. Deep water consists of keeping the soil moist to a depth that includes all the roots.
  • How Much Water and When: Not enough water is harmful for the tree but too much water is bad as well. Over-watering is a common tree care mistake. Please note that moist is different than soggy, and you can judge this by feel. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil.

As general rule, your soil should be moist. Usually 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose w/ a diffuser nozzle per tree seedling is sufficient. Mulching is also key in retaining moisture in the soil.

You can check soil moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2", and then move the blade of the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then use your finger to touch the soil. If it is moist to the touch, then they do not need water.

  • Watering Trees After the First Two Years: After your tree has been established in your yard for two years the roots will be established. This will allow your tree to withstand a wider range of water conditions including on its own because it has a proper root structure.

The Importance of Mulching

A newly planted tree’s best friend is mulch. It is very important to remember to mulch your tree after you have planted it.

Mulch is a valuable for your trees health and care because

  • Mulch insulates the soil helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold temperatures.
  • Mulch retains water helping to keep the roots moist.
  • Mulch keeps weeds out to help prevent root competition.
  • Mulch prevents soil compaction.
  • Mulch reduces lawn mower damage.

Steps to Adding Mulch Around Your Tree

  1. Add mulch to the base of your tree by removing any grass within a 3 to 10 foot area depending on the size of your tree.
  2. Pour natural mulch such as wood chips or bark pieces 2 to 4 inches deep within the circle.
  3. Keep the mulch from touching the trunk of the tree.

Learn proper tree watering practices.

Annual Tree Pruning Steps from Planting to Maturity

Tree pruning, trimming, or cutting is an ongoing process throughout the life of your tree. After selecting the right tree and carefully planting it, early pruning is the most important thing you can do for a young tree.

Proper pruning will save you money and give you a safer more beautiful, healthier, and easier-to-maintain tree. Remember what you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span.

Tree Pruning Steps at Planting

Leave as much of the entire leaf surface as possible to manufacture food that will build a larger root system. Roots will be larger after one year if left unpruned.

Do prune the following and trim close to the trunk:

  • Broken branches.
  • Branches competing with the leader.
  • Swollen branches from insect eggs or stings.
  • Remove tree tags.

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Tree Pruning: After 3 to 4 Years

Root growth should be well on its way to anchoring the transplant and expanding the size necessary to nourish the growing branches.

  • Cut off root suckers and sprouts in the crown.
  • Thin excessive branches to reduce competition for light, water, and nutrients.
  • Remove codominant leader.
  • Remove a few of the lowest limbs but others are temporarily left to help the trunk develop more taper and strength.
  • Eliminate branches that rub or growing in undesirable direction.
  • Remove narrow angled branches.

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Tree Pruning: After 5 to 7 Years

Now it is time to make a good tree even better.

  • Lower limbs are pruned off to raise the bottom of the crown well out of the way of human heads. The lowest limbs are now permanent limbs. Please note: branches DO NOT move upward as a tree grows taller. The center of a branch at 5 feet will always be at 5 feet.
  • Cut back a few of the higher up branches so they don’t protrude beyond the graceful outline of the crown.
  • Inspect tree to see if you need to remove a branch here or there for even spacing.

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Tree Pruning: 15 Years After Planting

With proper pruning at the beginning of your trees life your tree will have a better chance of surviving extreme conditions such as wind storms, ice, and drought. That is because proper pruning gave strength to the branches.

Early each spring, look for dead or damaged limbs. If you do have dead or damage limbs remove using proper pruning methods.

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