Trees add beauty and value to our property. Watching the leaves turn vibrant colors in the fall, or lively buds returning in the spring brings us a sense of wonder and tranquility. Studies have shown that some hospital patients recover more quickly from surgery when their hospital room has a view of trees. A newly planted tree benefits the entire community, and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has some tips to help young trees prosper.
Keeping young trees hydrated is important to their survival, but soaking the ground around their root system can be more damaging than beneficial. Over watering causes leaves to yellow or even drop. Young trees should be watered once a week, unless there is substantial rain. In hot weather, more frequent watering may be necessary. Dry soil below the mulch is an indication that a tree needs to be watered. Continue watering through mid-autumn, tapering off as colder weather approaches, which requires less frequent watering.
Young trees should not need much pruning. Some branches may have been damaged in the planting process, and can be removed when the tree is planted. Pruning to young trees should be done in moderation. Any corrective pruning that might need to be done should wait until after a full season of growth in the new location.
Mulch is an organic matter, such as composted wood chips, applied to the area at the base of the tree. Mulch acts to hold moisture in the soil, and to moderate the soil temperature. When applied properly, mulch can keep weed germination and growth to a minimum. A layer of no more than 2-4 inches should be applied several inches from the base of the tree. Placing mulch against the trunk of the tree can cause the bark to decay. The mulch should spread to the drip line of the tree or beyond.
Staking a new tree may not be vital to its development. If the tree is grown and dug properly at the nursery you purchase it from, staking for support will not be crucial for most landscaping situations. However, if the tree is planted in an area where it may be exposed to lawn mower damage, high winds or vandalism, staking may be needed for precaution. Support staking and ties should be removed after the first year of growth.