How to look after your tree: tree care overview

How to look after your tree: tree care overview

Last Edited: 10/02/2017

At Todds Nursery, we really do care about the future of our trees once planted. We truly believe they are important to society, in terms of both their environmental benefits and the everyday well-being that they help to engender, and that is why we’re committed to giving them every opportunity to thrive. 

In order to ensure this, our clients need to know how to care for them. Any tree planted within the past three years will need regular water and attention to help it grow to its full potential, or else it will be left vulnerable to stunting, pests, disease, and even death.

So, where to start? 

1: Watering

The average tree will require 25 gallons of water per week – equivalent to 1 ½ inches of rainfall. There are lots of steps that you can take to make sure it gets this. Some people find it easiest to turn a hose on low for half an hour once a week at the base. Others prefer to use a five-gallon bucket with holes in the bottom, which can be left permanently in position and refilled five days a week. Alternatively, a 25-gallon slow release watering bag can be laid and topped up weekly. 

If such methods are not practical, or you have too many trees to effectively manage with such strategies, an automatic irrigation system might be a better solution. These are usually designed to last for two to three years, giving trees the time they need to become established before they are left to fend for themselves. 

2: Mulching 

We also recommend mulching each season to help the soil remain moist and control weeds. Using either shredded bark or leaf compost, you should lay three inches of mulch in a three-foot ring, with three inches of space left clear around the base of the tree trunk. 

3: Installing stakes and guards 

To give your tree the best chance to grow you will need to keep its nutrient and water system from being disturbed, so we suggest installing a trunk guard to protect it from rodents and other small animals. If necessary, deer fencing may be a good idea too. 

Stakes should be used in conjunction with these. They will ensure that your trees do not rock in the wind, preventing the fine new roots that should be developing from being damaged. Check them regularly to ensure that they remain firm and are still holding the trees in the correct position. 

4: Pruning 

We would also advise you to prune your tree when necessary. During this process, you must ensure that you use clean and sharp tools, and that these are sanitised between each specimen for the purposes of disease prevention. With regards to the actual pruning itself, you should always cut to a main trunk, lateral branch, or bud, and must take care not to leave stubs. We suggest utilising the three-cut method for any limbs that exceed two inches in diameter. 

When pruning back to the main stem or another branch, it’s very important not to make a flush cut, for the collar itself contains chemicals that act as a shield against pathogens and allow the tree to form woundwood. Should you feel the need to remove more than one-quarter of the living crown, don’t. This can be done over successive years if necessary, and it could do a lot of damage if you become overzealous. 

Follow these four straightforward steps to keep your trees happy and healthy as they grow. However, if you are still uncertain about being able to maintain your plants correctly, talk to our team for help and advice. 

Todds Nursery is the premier producer and supplier of mature trees, shrubs, pines, and instant hedging in the UK. To find out more about how to look after your trees, or to enquire about the services we offer, feel free to contact us today – we’re always happy to help.