That’s a task that won’t ever be completed as trees need regular maintenance including pruning and watering.
Cooperative Extension Service
Your nursery and your state’s cooperative extension service are excellent places to turn for information on how to maintain your newly planted tree. The first source sold you the tree and can advise you on its care. The second source can do likewise with both imparting care information that can help your tree not just survive, but thrive.
1. Water on schedule. New trees require regular watering as the root system must be given time to develop and spread. Figure that for the first two to three years following planting you will need to provide water, ensuring that the soil around the tree is moist, but not soaked through. Local soil conditions are a factor too as clay and silt surfaces need less water while sandy soil will require more.
2. Provide mulch. You have seen your neighbor apply mulch early every spring and building it up to a thick layer around the tree. There is a problem with this approach: too much mulch and too often. Mulch helps restrict grass and weed growth, and can help your trees avoid damage from your lawn mower or weed whacker. Remove the mulch every other year and replenish it with a three-inch layer.
3. Prune with care. Give your tree time to grow before bringing out the pruners and then prune with extreme care. You can remove dead or broken branches at any time, but otherwise allow your tree to become established before pruning. If you want to shape a shade tree, remove the lowest branches to encourage growth.
4. Remove assisting devices. Young trees are usually planted with wires and ties in place. As soon as possible remove these to help your tree stand on its own. Typically, three months after a tree has been planted, your tree should be able to stand erect. If upon removing a stake it leans over, then restake it and wait a few more months. You can also put in place a protective barrier to ring the tree in an effort to protect its trunk from lawn equipment and other hazards.
5. Apply fertilizer and keep an eye out for pests. Homeowners may choose to fertilize a tree in a bid to increase its growth rate. Normally, fertilizer is not necessary as the tree gets enough nutrients from the surrounding soil. Check with your cooperative extension system office to determine how to fertilize and what to use. Learn how to apply nitrogen to encourage growth. You can also consult with your garden center or extension service for the best approach for handling pests.
The first two years of tree growth are the most intensive in its management. You will still need to employ regular maintenance and take a proactive approach to handling potential problems. With regular care your tree should provide the beauty that you want and even increase your home’s value while keeping it cool on those sultry summer days.
See Also — Plant the Best Trees For Your Yard