Caring for a New Tree

    New Trees — Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just throw a tree in the ground and it would grow perfect without any help?

    Newly transplanted trees need a little nurturing if they are to turn out healthy. If a newly transplanted tree is completely neglected it will probably loose a few branches, be sickly its whole life or completely die.

    A transplanted tree does not need much care, just water, sun and nutritious soil. If you are not sure about something, ask your nursery who will have more information for your specific region.


    If regular water was the only thing you gave your new tree then it will probably turn out just fine.

    The amount of water often depends on the region you live in. If you live in a desert, your tree may need to be watered for a few hours each day.
    Check the soil by digging into it. Water when the top 1-2 inches becomes dry.
    Don’t use high-pressure water or it could wash away the soil, expose the roots or tilt the tree.
    Add more dirt around the tree if the area sinks.

    Even if the tree is in an area of the yard that gets regular water from sprinklers, it may still need additional water. Ten or fifteen minutes may not be enough time to get water to the new roots that are down 2-3 feet. The time it takes will depend on how hard your soil is.


    Shade, partial sun or full sun. Check the tag and ensure the tree was planted in a spot where the it gets the recommended amount of sun. If not, you can prune trees around it or try and move the tree if it was planted recently.

    Nutritious Soil

    If the tree has been planted correctly, it should be surrounded by good quality soil and shouldn’t need to be fertilized for the first year or two. If not, you can amend the soil by adding fertilizer or work mulch into the top 2-3 inches.

    Other New Tree Tips

    If it’s a deciduous tree (looses its leaves in the fall), don’t prune the tree for a few years, especially slow growing trees like oak, maple and fruit trees.
    Watch for bugs, mold, and fungus.
    If you will be string trimming near the tree you can buy a plastic guard to put around the base of the tree to protect it from accidents. Even a small nick on a young tree’s bark can affect its natural growth.
    Story Time

    Weeds seem to do just fine anywhere they want (even the middle of your driveway) so why all the hubbub about a tree? A few years ago my landscaping company spent a few months doing regular work for a client. He had ordered a beautiful, chubby blue spruce from the nursery and asked us to deliver and plant it. We put it in a conspicuous spot and then gave the homeowner some instructions.

    At the 3 week checkup the tree was drying out so we watered it and again encouraged the owner to water it regularly. We returned two weeks later and the tree had died. The owner had pulled out the brown, dried up spruce and had replaced it with an ornamental pear. Two weeks later we returned for more work and the pear like the spruce was withered and brown.

    The soil was fine, the sun was great, but the homeowner was busy and only watered the tree once.

    Quality new trees will usually cost in the low hundreds and require care and nurturing when they are transplanted. Thankfully, most nurseries have a one-year guarantee on their new trees.

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