Newly planted baby trees, i.e. those planted less than three years ago, need a lot of care and attention. They must be replenished with regular water for the new born tree to grow and thrive. As in the case with a new born baby, not giving the young tree the recommended treatment it deserves in the early years, will be counterproductive for its growth and development in adulthood. It will not build the strength and immunity it needs to ward off pests and runs the risk of disease and eventual death.
However, you do not need to worry, try following the simple steps below to help you give your tree the proper care it deserves:
The best time to plant a Bare-rooted tree is in the winter from November to February, when they are dormant.
Before planting, notice the size of the roots of the tree and dig a square hole that is slightly wider and deeper to allow the roots to spread.
Try to place the tree at the same height as it was in the nursery, by back-filling the hole with soil, ensuring that it is not too tight as to prevent air and water circulating, as this will kill the roots by starving it of oxygen and hydration. Furthermore, ensure the roots are not above the ground, or too deep below ground, as the stem will die.
Finish by watering the tree and cover the soil with a pile of Mulch.
It is important to water as much as you can during the spring and summer months. Once the tree has been planted, the ground will absorb the water so you must regularly water it early in the morning or late at night, (watering in the daytime will cause the water to evaporate). This will prevent it from dehydrating and ultimately dying. For a 2m (6ft) ‘standard’ tree it will need at least 30 litres (approx. 6 gallons) per week.
If possible, use recycled 5 litre water bottles with handles and or a lid, they weigh roughly 5kg when full, or you can use a normal garden hose to regularly wet the ground.
Check the tree for signs of dehydration, for example blistered or cracking on the bark, small leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves, drooping leaves, brittle leaves or the tree shedding leaves.
Remove a 1m diameter circle of grass and or weeds around the base of the tree to prevent them absorbing the water and nutrients, reserved for the tree. You can do this by hand, but if you want a faster and more effective result, you should use a chemical based killer.
To protect the tree, whilst weeding, the recommended weed killer to use is Glyphosate. The weeds usually die in around 2 weeks, but will also become inactive as soon as it touches the soil and therefore protecting the tree. You can buy Glyphosate as Tumbleweed from most garden centres. Always check and apply the instructions carefully and if possible, the first application should be on a dry day in April, wait at least 6 hours to dry and apply it for a minimum of three years.
You can also place Mulch (bark chippings, well-rotted manure, leaf mould, etc.), with a thick, 8cm (3in) layer around the tree during spring to lock-in the moisture, as well as to prevent weeds from reappearing. You can also cover larger areas with plastic, landscape material to prevent weeds from germinating.
To protect the tree from damage particularly from dogs, foxes, cars, lawn mowers, strimmers and vandals, a guard can be erected around the base.
Stakes should be used to support the tree until it anchors its roots. The tree must be attached tightly with a tree tie to the stake, 1/3 clear of the stem, to prevent the wind from rocking it and detaching the roots before it fully plants itself into the soil. The ties should be loosened as the tree grows to give it the space it needs to grow and develop.
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