Landscaping often involves planting trees and then caring for those trees. Tree maintenance is important if you want your trees to be healthy and to live long lives. All trees need to be cared for in some fashion but newly planted trees are especially prone to problems and they need special care. The good news is providing this care to newly planted trees is not difficult. Here are some tips on how you can keep your trees in top shape.
Most experts agree that the first two years are the most important in establishing your tree to its new environment. This is never more important than when the weather becomes extremely hot or dry. Even a week or two of hot, dry weather can have an adverse effect on your new tree.
During these hot, dry periods you want to watch out for what is commonly known as moisture stress. What you want to look for are any signs that the leaves are becoming hard and brittle. You want to look at the soil to see if it is caking up. If you notice these signs, you should water the tree but do so slowly so that the water can get down into the soil. The moisture that you add will help the deep roots, which is critical. You should also add some mulch under the tree to help prevent moisture loss through evaporation.
If you have evergreen trees you want to give them some added protection against the harsh winter sun and constant cold wind. One effective way to do this is to give them a good watering in the fall. Do this before the temperatures drops and the ground freezes.
As a general rule of thumb, most newly planted trees do not need fertilization during the first year or two of growth. Later on, you may need to add fertilizer but only if the soil itself requires it.
Newly planted trees will need as much protection as they can get against certain types of damage. These include animals, lawn mowers, and weed trimmers. Be especially wary of mice and rabbits. These animals will often bite away the bark at snow level and when spring arrives, the tree will most often die due to lack of nutrients. This same type of damage happens when weed trimmers are allowed to hit against the bark at grass level. The bark is stripped off, leaving the tree girdled.
Unless you are told otherwise by an expert landscaper, newly planted trees do not normally need any type of pruning. The exception to this is when branches become very low and are brushing the ground. Dead and damaged limbs should also be pruned away. But on the whole, young trees should not be pruned unless there is a good reason for it.
When pruning young trees you should make sure that all of your cuts are vertical. This will allow the tree to heal quickly without the use of sealants. If you are not sure about how to prune properly, contact a landscape contractor or other tree specialist.