How to Care for Newly Planted Trees

If you’ve recently planted a tree in your yard, understanding how to care for newly planted trees can ensure their long life and robust growth. Trees are living things and require a specific set of nutrients to survive. 

This guide will explain how to care for and protect your new trees through correct watering, fertilizing, and protecting techniques. Contact Professional Tree Service, the preferred tree service in Ocean Springs, MS, with any questions regarding tree care and practices. 

How Much Water Per Week? 

You should water your tree every day at first, using several gallons of water per day. After the first few weeks, water the tree less often, about once a week. You should still use several gallons of water — the accepted rule of thumb is ten gallons per inch of the tree trunk diameter every week. 

Don’t expect your sprinklers to water your tree effectively. The preferred method is a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. This system will allow water to slowly soak into the soil over a few hours per watering. 

This process of slowly and deeply watering your tree should continue until the tree becomes wholly established after nearly a year or more. The weather also matters, so water more thoroughly during droughts or hot days. Stop watering during long periods of rain. 

Water the tree roots, not the trunk. If the bark repeatedly gets wet or sits in water, it can begin to decay. Keep water off the leaves, branches, and trunk for optimal results. 

Spread the water up to or further than the canopy edge. This way, you know the tree roots can reach the water. 

Wood Chips and Fertilization

When learning how to care for newly planted trees, fertilization often comes to mind. However, trees do not require fertilization within the first year. Lack of fertilization encourages the roots to grow further and deeper, strengthening the tree.  

Wood chips around the new tree will act as a natural fertilizer, slowly releasing nutrients into the soil. The wood chips slowly disintegrate and add richness to the earth, fortifying the tree.

Besides fertilization, wood chips can do the following: 

  • Trap moisture in the soil 
  • insulate the roots 
  • Stop weeds from growing and stealing nutrients

All these benefits encourage your tree to grow and find nutrients, creating a better living environment. When mulching, lay the mulch out to the canopy edge or further. Do not put mulch too close to the trunk, as the mulch will force moisture to sit on the bark and may slowly rot the tree trunk. 

Protecting Your Tree Roots and Trunk 

Don’t prune for the first year or two. Not pruning allows the tree to get as much sunlight as possible and lets the tree focus on establishing a root system. 

Staking is also not generally needed, as it can affect growth and wind resistance. If you must stake, only do so during the first year.

Use a tree wrap during the tree’s first years to protect it from the following hazards: 

  • Sunscald 
  • Windburn 
  • Pest infestations 
  • Landscaping tools 

A tree wrap can shield the tree while allowing it to breathe. Scraping off the bark opens wounds in the tree, making it more susceptible to pests, diseases, and fungi.


For further reading, learn how to tell if a tree needs water and the best watering practices for your tree. 

Now you understand how to care for newly planted trees. If you have any questions or need help protecting your trees, call Professional Tree Service at (228) 669-9388 and get the help you need in Ocean Springs, MS. 

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