In caring for a young tree, the first five years are the most critical stage of the whole process. During this period, the tree has less ability to absorb the water and nutrients needed for survival, and it is also very prone to physical damage. If something is missed during this critical stage, the tree will most certainly be deficient in one essential nutrient or another and it will grow into an unhealthy tree. In taking care of a young tree, proper watering, pruning and other tree care are some of the most important factors that should be put in place.
There are some basic things you can do to protect your tree and assist it during the growth process. Some of these include:
Providing water for a young tree doesn’t only stop at watering with a hose or sprinkler. It is more than that. It covers a wide range of procedures that will help your tree stay hydrated. Some of these include:
- Deep Watering: Deep watering of young roots helps to prevent weak surface roots from forming while encouraging the growth of stronger and more robust roots under the surface. Consistent watering of young tree provides them with good health and disease prevention.
- Monitoring soil moisture: Occasionally, you should check how moist the ground is about 6 inches below the surface of the soil. The moister the soil, the cooler it will be for the roots to thrive. The soil should not be wet, but only just moist enough.
- Be alert for signs of drought stress: Some of the signs include leaf wilting, curling, yellowing and browning at the edge. All of these point to the fact that your tree is suffering from lack of moisture.
Water the young roots with 10 to 15 gallons when there has been no soaking rain in weeks. Once the tree is more than 2 years old, you can cut back on the watering process. At this point it wouldn’t need as much water to grown.
The benefits of mulching a tree are enormous. Mulching will help you fertilize the soil around the tree, insulate the roots, provide a protection for it against heat and cold, keep weed competition to a minimum and prevent moisture from evaporating. The size of your mulch will depend on how large the tree is. You can make use of wood chips or pieces of bark for mulching. The mulch should not touch the tree trunk, but should be laid in a 3 foot radius around the tree trunk, with a depth of more than 3 inches and starting 3 inches away from the tree trunk. Note that too much mulch, which is known as volcanic mulching, will create a cool and damp environment favorable for the growth of fungi, pests and diseases. All of these will stress out the young tree.
Pruning basically involves the removal of branches from your tree so that is stays healthier and grows in a strong shape. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to prune a young tree. The best thing is to leave young trees alone during the first year after planting. Only remove broken limbs during this period. Constant pruning of young tree can easily make them incapable of photosynthesis because much of the green leaves will be lost, leading to insufficient chlorophyll to produce food.
After the first three years, you can begin pruning your tree more often. Prune during the winter season to encourage growth. Once every year, you can prune the tree so that the competition for food and water will be greatly reduced. Cut off stray branches that are growing out of the desired shape you have envisioned for your tree. Stubs can cause your trees to develop a pest problem or disease and they should be avoided. When pruning, make your cut along the lines where the branch collar ends and the branch begins.
Common Tree Hazards and How to Control them
- Plant the right tree in the right soil. This is necessary because some large trees can only be supported by a specific soil type. Once that is missed, the root becomes faulty and the tree is liable to be pulled down by even weak winds.
- Some tree branches can decay and begin to become hollow on the inside. Such branches should be detected early and cut off before it falls on a person.
- Young trees should be uprooted and relocated if their roots have started showing signs of encroaching toward building areas.
- Before planting a tree species, understand the nature of its growth and what problems it can cause when it is fully grown.
PROFESSIONAL TREE SERVICES
There is a great advantage when you have tree experts come over to inspect your young trees. They can detect any unlikely condition that can cause your tree to become hazardous. Allow the experts prune and trim your tree in the way that it should be done so that you avoid mistakes. This way your tree stays safe for a longer period of time and never becomes hazardous. If you’re in the Mid-Michigan area, give us a call at Aerial Tree Services.