Have you planted a new tree recently? Whether to mark Arbor Week, which took place earlier this month or just because you wanted to beautify your garden, newly planted trees need a little extra TLC to ensure they thrive.
Any mistakes you make now will not be easy to remedy when your tree is older, so follow our tips to ensure your new tree gets a good start:
Don’t stake your tree – unless you really have to
It’s not always necessary to stake a tree you’ve just planted. During the first year, trees lay down their roots, and it’s this web of roots that provide the stem and branches with structural support. Allowing a tree to sway gently in the wind will actually help it to grow strong roots.
The only exception to this rule is if the tree is planted in an exceptionally windy area. In this case, your tree may need some additional support to help it establish a solid root matrix. If you do need to stake your tree, make sure you tie it loosely and use a wide strip of non-abrasive material. After a year has passed, remove the stake and your tree should be sturdy enough to cope with the wind.
Get to know your soil
Performing a soil test may sound extreme, but with an understanding of the type of soil you have in your garden, you can take better care of your trees and plants. You’ll know what nutrients you need to add and how much or how often you need to water.
Go easy on the fertiliser
Unless your soil is nutrient deficient, it’s not necessary to fertilise your new tree for the first year. Adding too many nutrients to the soil may cause excessive growth. Your tree will concentrate its energy on producing new shoots instead of developing its root system.
Invest in a good quality, organic mulch
Instead of fertiliser, opt for mulch – preferably wood chip mulch. As the mulch decomposes, it releases vital nutrients into the soil. Mulch also suppresses weeds and helps the soil retain moisture. However, you should resist the temptation to pile the mulch up around your new tree’s trunk. Apply mulch the right way, and your trees will reap all the benefits of this marvellous material.
Add the right amount of water
Remember that a newly planted tree takes a whole year to establish its root system. That means you don’t have to flood it with water every time you get your garden hose out. You should aim to keep the soil around your tree moist, not soggy. When you do water your tree, do it slowly so the soil can soak up the water.
Hold off on pruning for the first year
As with staking, you should only prune a new tree when it’s absolutely necessary. Pruning may be done to correct flaws in the tree’s structure or to remove broken branches. Your new tree will need all its leaves to create the food it needs to survive. Removing branches unnecessarily will only set it back.
Even though your new tree won’t need much maintenance in its first year, it’s best to let a tree care professional handle any pruning. With the right tools and techniques, Brands Tree Fellers knows exactly what your newly planted and established trees need.