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A new tree makes an excellent addition to any property, providing shade and beauty for years to come. However, taking care of one is not always easy, especially if you don’t have experience.

As the leading Bellingham tree removal company, we know a thing or two about landscape maintenance. We’ve put together this helpful guide on how to care for new trees, so you can ensure your investment grows healthy and strong.


Water is essential for a new tree’s survival, especially in the first few months after planting. The amount of water your tree needs will depend on the species, climate, and soil conditions.

A good rule of thumb is to give your tree about 15 gallons of water per week. Water it every two to three days after planting, evenly moistening the root ball and surrounding soil. The following tips can further help you water your tree effectively:

  • Make a habit of checking the soil around your tree regularly. If a few inches beneath the surface feels dry, it’s time to give your tree a good drink.
  • Water more during the hotter months and less during the cooler months.
  • Big trees with over a two-inch trunk diameter at chest height usually require eight to ten gallons of water per inch of diameter weekly.
  • Avoid watering the trunk of your tree, as this can lead to disease.
  • Overwatering often leads to as much damage as underwatering, so avoid going overboard.


Mulching is the next essential step to know when learning how to care for new trees. It helps the soil retain moisture, prevents weeds from growing, and protects the roots from extreme temperature changes.

Use organic material like bark chips or wood shavings. You’ll want to spread a layer of mulch that measures about two to four inches deep and extends out to the edge of the canopy or further. Remember to keep a four to six-inch space clear around the trunk to avoid rot.

If the mulch layer looks too matted or dry, break it up with a potato hoe to prevent it from becoming hydrophobic. You can apply an inch of fresh mulch every year to promote a healthy tree.


Avoid pruning your new tree for the first year unless absolutely necessary. Transplant stress is already hard enough on a young tree, so avoid giving it unnecessary shocks. You can remove dead or broken branches, but wait to do any heavy pruning until the tree has time to adjust to its new home.

After the first year, you can prune your tree to remove any crossed, rubbing, or diseased limbs. You can also shape it to promote a certain growth pattern, but be sure not to cut more than 25% of the live branches in any given year.


You’ll only need to fertilize your new tree if a soil test reveals low levels of essential nutrients. Always consult tree care experts to find the right mixture for your tree species and soil conditions.

In general, you’ll want to use a slow-release fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in early spring. Follow the directions on the package for how much and how often to apply it.

Your Trusted Tree Care Experts in Bellingham

Timber Tree Service is dedicated to helping our customers keep their living landscapes healthy and beautiful. If you have any questions on how to care for new trees, or you need professional services, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We also encourage you to read our blog to know the possible causes of damage on tree bark, the right way to inspect tree roots, and other tree care tips.

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