By: Shelby McCullough| Published: October 4, 2018
Tips to Care for Your Young Tree
Caring for a young tree takes time and dedication. The first five years of a tree’s life can determine the health and growth patterns for the rest of its lifespan. Good care can also help drastically reduce your maintenance costs. Here are a few key tips to help you nurture your young tree throughout the first few years of its life.
Immediate care. Three days after planting, your tree’s roots will be extremely sensitive. Make sure you fill the watering basin three times with 15 to 20 gallons of water on each occasion.
Deep watering. Young trees need ongoing watering to ensure their health and protect them from disease. Deep watering will prevent fragile surface roots from generating and foster the growth of strong under-roots.
Monitor soil moisture. Young trees are especially susceptible to drying out if they don’t have enough moisture. Be sure to check 4 to 6 inches below the surface each week to be certain the soil is moist but not too damp. You should also use mulch to help preserve moisture in the soil. Spread up to five inches of mulch from the base to the tree trunk to keep its roots from drying out.
Clear neighboring weeds and grass. Ensure the base of your tree is completely clear of weeds or grass. These plants tend to compete with your tree for access to water and nutrients, which can dramatically hinder growth.
Water wisely. Frequent shallow watering results in fragile and vulnerable roots, so make sure you deeply water your tree infrequently, so it doesn’t become too dependent on water and can foster durable roots.
Prepare for dry periods. When rain becomes infrequent, start watering your trees every two to four weeks with 20 gallons of water. This is especially important during late spring and throughout the summer.
Years Three to Five
Water your tree at a minimum of once a month using 20 to 30 gallons of water. Monthly watering will foster healthy growth while preserving water.
Be aware of drought stress. Understand that there will be extended dry periods, especially during the summer. Occasional deep watering in the midst of a drought can help your tree flourish.