Getting young trees established should be easy. Just plant, water and wait, right? But too often, young trees fail to thrive. Attention to a few details above and below ground can improve a young tree’s chances of a healthy life.
Most important is that the root flare – the base of the stem where the trunk flares out into the roots – is at grade or slightly above, the way plants grow in nature. When plants are planted too deep or have excess soil or mulch on the roots, they can suffer from root disease structural problems. Another soil issue that often needs to be addressed is nutrition. Fertilization should be prescribed to encourage growth, based on the results of a soil nutrient sample. Finally, moisture management cannot be overlooked. Typically, applying about 20 gallons per week is a reasonable rule of thumb for periods without adequate rainfall.
Once young trees are established, good form and structure become important. A simple practice called structural pruning can help them maintain a straight, strong form.
With a little bit of tender loving care, young trees will grow quickly and healthily.