Pamper New Trees & Shrubs with Tender, Loving Care

Special attention should be made to trees and shrubs which are newly planted as well as those planted last season.  In heavy soils, or poorly drained soils, the growth of new feeder roots may be minimal.  Proper placement of trees is mandatory for their survival.  Most plants can not be planted in wet areas, however, some plants require wet areas ae (river birch, bald cypress, and weeping willow).  Other plants require shade in an urban setting ae. (azalea, rhodendron, dogwood, red bud and several varieties of Japanese Red Maple) to survive and thrive. 

Plants under stress develop sparse, undersized leaves.  Older leaves may gradually yellow and drop or even die back.  Leaves may persist, but they may develop dead margins.

Careful watering is probably the most important aspect in the establishment of newly planted trees and shrubs.  Thorough watering should be done at least weekly during dry periods, even during the fall and winter.  During sustained droughts, twice weekly waterings is advisable.  But be careful not to over water.  Plants with limited root systems will wilt in the heat even though there may be adequate moisture in the soil.  Automatic irrigation systems do not sufficiently water established trees, they are designed for turf, small shrubbery and flower irrigation.

Develop a mulch tree ring around new plantings.  This will aid in the moisture retention around the base of the newly planted tree.  Water the base of the tree with 5 gallons of water once or twice a week depending upon the size and type of tree.  How do you know how much to water a tree?  The tree will actually give you signs.  When the leaves are cupping upward, it is crying for water.  When the leaves are drooping downwardly, it’s a sign of too much water.  When the leave is wide open, its getting the proper amount of water. Deciduous trees require more water than evergreen trees.  Tree survival is significantly improved when sufficient water is applied before the first sub-freezing period.

Careful pruning can also reduce leaf area and bring the top of the tree or shrub in balance with the root system.  Selective pruning will shape the tree and shrub into a desirable shape as well as sustain the plants throughout the year.