If you're like most people who have recently purchased property for the first time, you're probably looking forward to doing a lot of other things for the first time as well — such as planting the first new tree in your yard. Even if you've already got existing trees, there's nothing quite like planting your own tree after you move into a new home and watching it grow over the years. However, planting a tree only to see it languish and slowly die can be a heartbreaking experience. Transplanting puts stress on trees which may cause them to decline, but you can help alleviate that with the proper care. Here's what you need to know about taking care of a newly planted tree.
It's important to water your tree immediately after you've planted it. For the next two weeks, you'll need to water your tree on a daily basis except on days when your area receives a soaking rain — drizzles don't count. After that, the tree should be watered every two or three days for the next twelve weeks and once per week after that until the tree has finished losing its leaves in autumn. At this point, the tree is ready to enter dormancy and won't need any further watering until next year's growing season, when you'll need to start watering it once per week. However, your tree may need more water if drought conditions exist, so be on the alert for signs that your tree needs an extra drink, such as wilting leaves.
A good layer of mulch will help your new tree thrive by providing protection to the roots against temperature fluctuations, holding water in the soil, and discouraging the growth of weeds that may compete with the tree for water and nutrients. Using an organic mulch delivers the added bonus of supplying the soil around your tree with additional nutrients.
The best pest control method for trees is to keep them as healthy as possible by using the good cultivation practices described above — after all, pests are creatures of opportunity and therefore far more likely to infest trees in a weakened position rather than their healthy counterparts. You should also check your trees for signs of insect pests once per week throughout the growing season and apply a light layer of insecticidal soap if you notice aphids, mites, mealybugs, or other soft-bodied insects on the leaves or bark of your tree.
Hiring a professional tree care service is another good way to give new trees the best possible start in life, especially if you've got little or no experience with getting things to grow. They'll be especially valuable when it comes time to prune the new tree and in the event the tree develops a serious pest or pathogen infestation.