It is important that any tree planted in the last five years be visited once a year and cared for. Many trees that are planted die from lack of aftercare, wasting effort and money.
These easy tips can be done between March and September and will ensure better care for all trees, making them more likely to survive:
Check the tree every March or April to see if it’s alive. You can do this by checking for living buds or leaves and if there are not any, looking for green under the bark of twigs by scraping the surface. If however the tree is dead, try to work out why and correct the problem before planting a new one.
Tree guards are used to prevent animals from damaging young trees by eating the shoots and leaves or stripping the bark. You should check the guards in Spring and Autumn to make sure they are effective and are not hindering the tree’s growth by rubbing or cutting into it. If the guard is inadequate, damaged or damaging the tree, adjust it, replace it, or consider a different kind of protection. Remember to also remove the guard when there is no longer a risk to your young tree.
Careful pruning can prevent later problems for a tree. If your tree has two competing upright shoots, you should remove one at an early stage to prevent possible branch failure later on.
A young tree should only need a stake until its roots have grown into undisturbed soil to give the tree stability. This should take a year. You should regularly check the stake and tie to ensure the tie it is not too tight and that the tree stem is not under pressure. Check your tree in Spring to see if it stays upright and you can remove the tie. If the roots move or the tree bends when you remove the stake, shorten the stake to just above the bend and replace the tie to ensure the stem stands upright.
Pull up any grass and weeds for a radius of at least half a metre around the tree but avoid damaging the tree’s roots. Early in the year when the soil is moist, cover this cleared area with a mulch mat, bark or brushwood chippings or an old piece of carpet. This will help to retain moisture near the roots, reduce competition from weeds and mean there is no reason to use grass-cutting machinery near the tree where it might damage the bark.
These tasks are quick and easy to do and will help your young trees to stay protected and survive their early years.