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New Trees? Don't Make These 2 Mistakes

A fresh set of new trees can give your yard a heavy dose of visual interest, especially as they grow into shady arbors. However, it is easy to make mistakes during a tree's formative years, stunting their growth and potentially causing tree loss. This guide lists two errors to avoid making when it comes to your new trees.

1. Staking Every New Tree

Saplings can seem incredibly delicate, which is why most homeowners focus on staking them carefully to prevent trunk damage. However, research has shown that most new trees don't need to be staked, and doing so may even cause significant damage to the tree.

While it is true that staking a tree can prevent movement, this early movement actually helps to stimulate growth, which makes the tree stronger later on. As the young tree sways in the wind, the trunk becomes thicker and the tree becomes less susceptible to damage. In fact, while trees that are staked typically grow taller than unstaked versions, they may be more prone to breakage.

Staking trees too tightly can also cause a problem called girdling, where the tree develops irregularities in the trunk. As the trunk tries to grow through tight pressure on one side, it develops a thick edge at the top of the stake, which can interrupt nutrient transport to the top of the tree. On the flip side, tying a tree too loosely can cause friction against the trunk of the tree as the tie moves in the wind, resulting in bark injury, infection, or even pest invasions.

When you buy new trees, look at the root ball to determine whether the tree needs additional support. If the root ball is small in proportion to the height of the tree, then the plant may need to be staked. On the other hand, if the root ball is large and provides a great deal of weight for the small tree, it will probably be better off left alone.

2. Overwatering

Since the last thing most people want to see is their new trees drying up and dying, they have a tendency to water their plants more often than they should.

Although this can seem like a simple way to ensure plant health, tree roots can actually drown, making it difficult for plants to survive. If the ground around your tree is constantly permeated with water, then the water can fill the space between the soil where air usually resides, suffocating your tree roots and preventing water transport.

Overwatering trees can also lead to mold, mildew, and fungal growth that can harm the young tree. Excess water can also harbor insects, making your tree more vulnerable to damage. 

To keep your young trees safe, water them once a day for the first two weeks, and then only once a week for the first year. After that, your tree should have roots that are long and strong enough to fetch their own water supply, especially if you irrigate the area with sprinklers.

Be on the lookout for new changes to your tree that could signal it is getting too much water. When trees are overwatered, their young leaves can look light yellow-green, and the adult leaves may fall apart easily. If you notice issues, then cut back on watering gradually until you notice healthier foliage.

Whether you are thinking about planting some new trees or you need help with existing saplings, give us a call here at Bill's Tree Care & Landscape, Inc. With a commitment to making your landscaping an important asset, our team of experienced arborists can help you to create a gorgeous outdoor space. Give us a call today to learn more.