Caring For Your Tree
Water is crucial for your tree's survival, particularly during the first year after planting.
- Water your tree when the soil is dry beneath the mulch. Use at least 5 gallons of water once per week from spring through autumn, and as often as twice a week during hot and dry weather.
- Trickle water onto the soil surface using a hose, or allow water to seep from a bucket with small holes in the bottom. Watering slowly and deeply is best.
Weed and Clean
Weeds and trash can prevent water from reaching your tree's roots, causing a decline in your tree's health. Substances like motor oil, de-icing salt, detergent, and urine can kill your tree.
Tree roots require water and air for survival. Compacted soil and cemented pits prevent water and air from reaching tree roots.
- Avoid compacting the soil: don't pile trash, walk, or drive around the tree's roots.
- Never cement over the surface of your tree pit.
- Bark is necessary for protecting the trunk and maintaining tree health.
- Keep car doors, dogs, string trimmers and bicycles away from the trunk to avoid potential bark wounds.
- If you lay bricks or stones around your tree, keep them at least 6 inches away from the trunk and check each year to maintain this space - pavers placed too close can strangle the bark as the trunk gets wider.
Remove Stakes and Straps
Straps left on your tree for longer than a year may cut into the bark and strangle the tree.
- Remove and discard stakes and straps one year after planting.
- On newly planted trees, prune only to remove broken branches.
Loosening the soil surface around your tree encourages water and air to enter the soil. Spring is a good time to cultivate the soil around your tree.
- If the soil surface around your tree becomes compacted, loosen the first few inches of soil and break up any large clumps.
- Avoid damaging any large woody roots.
Mulch helps conserve water, control weeds, keep roots cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and prevent soil compaction.
- Maintain a 2-4" layer of mulch around your tree, taking care not to pack it against the trunk. Recommended mulches include wood chips, composted leaves, and pine needles.
- Always remember to weed and cultivate the soil before mulching.
- Plant flowers such as impatiens, begonias, marigolds, and vinca around your tree.
- As flowers wilt in the summer heat, they will remind you to water your tree.