Taking Care of Newly Planted Trees
First and foremost, all trees suffer a certain amount of “transplant shock” during the planting and establishment period. In Colorado, with good planting and watering techniques it takes approximately 1 year per caliper (diameter) inch for establishment. Keep in mind that trees & shrubs are living organisms and living organisms need care in order to reach their full potential. Taking care of your tree in its first few years will affect its health, shape, and strength for its entire life span.
Steps for Success:
- After the planting it’s time to Water in the Tree. Using water, verses stomping down the soil, allows for good soil-root contact without pushing out the oxygen needed in the soil for root development.
- Wood Mulch is highly recommended for newly planted trees. Wood mulch decreases soil compaction, allows for weed control, consistent soil moisture, provides a buffer from fluctuating temperatures and decreases damage from lawn mowers. Spread mulch to a diameter of at least 3’ and keep it at least 6” back from the trunk with a maximum depth of 3-4”.
- Watering Guidelines: Newly planted trees need 10 gallons of water per caliper (diameter) inch per week. The weekly water amount should be divided into 2-3 watering periods per week during the establishment period. Consistent moisture is essential and will allow for better root water absorption. Drought stress or over-watered trees are vulnerable to disease and insect infestations as well as branch die back.
- Fertilizing is not recommended for initial establishment. In general, established trees should be fertilized in late winter or early spring before growth begins with a slow-release Tree & Shrub fertilizer.
- Pruning should be limited to removing broken, crossing branches, or in establishing a main leader.
- Tree Wrap should be applied in November (think Thanksgiving) and removed in April (think Easter). Tree wrap helps to prevent sunscald in young or thin barked trees. Damage from sun scald provides opportunity for insect damage or fungal diseases.
- To Stake or Not To Stake, that is the question…. Research has shown that newly planted trees in general do not need to be staked. There are times when you should consider staking such as for protection, support, and to anchor in areas of high wind. Pine Lane Nursery does not include staking during planting unless requested by the customer.
Winter Steps to Success:
Winter in Colorado is challenging for our landscape plants; with little precipitation, moisture stealing winds, and fluctuating temperatures plants can suffer root injuries resulting in die back and weakening of the plant. These injuries open up opportunities for insect and disease problems. Plants that are most susceptible to winter drought damage are new planted and non-established trees & shrubs. Following a good winter watering program will go a long way to maintaining healthy plants and turf through the spring and summer growing seasons!
- Winter Watering is a must!
- Water at least once a month-- twice if temperature & exposure require it
- Water when there is no snow cover
- Water when soil and air temperatures are approximately 40F
- Apply water in the warmest part of the day between 10-2 PM
- Water enough to reach 6-12 inches down in clay soils.
- Water slowly and closer to the surface with a soaking type hose or slow trickle from the hose.
- If surface of the soil is cracked, water twice to help cracks swell and close for higher water retention.
- A good watering before you turn off your irrigation in the fall will be beneficial.
- Apply water more frequently to southern and western exposures
- Winter Mulching
- Apply mulch on exposed soil to help keep available moisture in and avoid evaporation
- Applying mulch will help prevent freezing and thawing of the soil surface that causes plants to heave above ground and dry out.
- During the establishment phase in a tree’s life cycle, primary growth occurs in the root system, with minimal growth in the canopy.
- Premature leaf change, leaf wilt, leaf drop,leaf burn and tip diebck are signs of watering problems.
- When watering non-established trees, check the soil frequently, and water according to need.
Pine Lane Nursery Garden Center in Parker, CO
Pine Lane Nursery is a family owned, full service garden center in business since 1983. We offer an extensive inventory including fast growing trees, shrubs, and bushes from our tree farm (we bring in trees from Oregon, Idaho, Missouri and Colorado); beautiful annual and perennial plants (such as hibiscus); seasonal veggies for your vegetable garden, and much more!
Based in Parker, CO, Pine Lane Nursery services the surrounding areas of Centennial, Castle Rock, Denver, Aurora, Highlands Ranch, and more. Need help with your garden design, on finding the right trees and shrubs for your landscape, or on choosing the best annual and perennial plants for your home? Call us at (303) 841-3009 or stop by the garden center today!