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Caring for your Trees the First Year and Beyond
You’ve found and planted the perfect tree for your yard. Now what?

To ensure many years of enjoyment, the first year of care after planting is especially crucial. Our summers here in northern Illinois can be brutal; scorching heat with little rainfall. Supplying sufficient water is our number one goal.

A new tree will need 10 to 15 gallons of water per week. It is likely during the summer months that we will need to water on a weekly basis. It is important to water slowly over a long period of time to allow the water to penetrate deeply. This is ideally done with a soaker hose. You can also use a regular hose, turned on very low so the water is a slow dribble. The hose will have to repositioned periodically to thoroughly saturate the area surrounding the tree.

The other key to success with your new tree is mulch. We are imitating nature and the fallen leaves that protect trees in the wild. Mulch helps keep moisture from evaporating and keeps the root zone cooler. It also serves another practical purpose which is to keep mowers and string trimmers far from the tree’s bark.

Growing turfgrass directly under trees is not recommended for several reasons. The shade that will eventually be cast by your tree as it matures will likely result in thin, spotty grass. Turfgrass also has a high demand for water and nutrients which will compete with your tree’s needs. And, as mentioned before, trying to keep the grass trimmed that is growing right next to the trunk may result in permanent injury to your tree.

At scott flanagan landscape, we recommend double processed hardwood mulch. You can also use shredded leaves or any dried plant material. You’ll want to spread the mulch so it is 2-3 inches thick. Never allow the mulch layer direct contact with the root flare (the base of the tree where it meets the earth) as this can encourage pests and diseases.

After some tender loving care the first year or two, your tree will become established and able to withstand short periods of low precipitation. During extended times of drought it is still recommended to provide supplemental water and the mulch should be maintained and replenished throughout the tree’s life.

These simple steps will go miles in giving your tree the best chance for success!


Written by:
Nicole Gear
Horticulturist and Office Manager
scott flanagan landscape
2011 – present
Illustrations: Google image search

Scott Flanagan Landscape    708.460.5884    sfl@scottflanaganlandscape.com