So now you have finally made your purchase and you are bringing your new tree home. When you picked it out at the nursery, or transplanted it from another location, the tree should have been at optimal health. You will need to take very good care of it while it is getting use to its new location and establishing a good root system. With a little know how and a lot of common sense maintaining your tree will be a worthwhile task that will bring you beauty for years to come.

To properly learn how to maintain your tree is to know what every living thing needs to survive. Watering your tree is vital to it health. Young freshly planted trees will need plenty of water to establish a good root system. Mature trees need to be deeply watered. There are several ways to accomplish this task. Mother nature will take care of some of the water needed, but you should purchase a soaker hose for times when no rain will fall.

The roots will expand out to 3 times the height of the tree. The roots will search for moisture and oxygen therefore a lot of the absorbing root system is just 12 inches below the dirt. You can take a soaker hose and wind it starting at the base of the tree and spiral it out to the dripline. You will need to allow a slow drip flow for several hours to ensure deep roots receive plenty of moisture, and that you don’t encourage shallow root development. Trees that suffer from drought are more prone to diseases and branches that die back. They also tend to suffer from bug infestation, so do not neglect this task.

Next, mulch is important step in how to maintain your tree for moisture and protection. Mulch will help prevent water from evaporating from the soil, moderate the temperature of the soil, improve aeration, provide organic nutrients, and it will keep weeds and lawn equipment at bay. You will want to use organic material like wood chips or shredded bark for your mulch. Do not use fresh grass clippings or sawdust. You will want to place the mulch at the base of the tree. You should start at about 6 inches out from the trunk and stay within the dripline. Do not use more than 4 inches of mulch or you will suffocate the roots beneath it.

When maintaining your tree proper fertilization is crucial. You will want to apply 1-2 pounds of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter. You can use a compound like 10-6-4 unless the soil is lacking in potassium and phosphorus. If this is the case then use the compound 10-10-10. Never put fertilizer in planting holes, and do not use it during periods of drought or it will burn the root system. Furthermore, fertilizing during drought periods can encourage canopy growth which will be to much for a water deprived root system to tolerate.

If you notice that wildlife is gnawing on the base of your trunk, you can easily protect it with a small mesh wire guard. You can also use a perforated plastic guard around the base of your tree to the tune of about 2 feet high. This will keep these toothy critters away.

Unless you our shaping a small ornamental tree leave the pruning sheers in the shed. Larger trees need to be left alone to develop their own beauty. You will find it necessary from time to time to prune back a leggy branch, but unless it is getting into power lines, leave the pruning alone, or in that scenario, to the professionals.