How to Care for Newly Planted Trees

As we tell our customers all the time, fall is the best time to plant a tree.  A previous blog explains that trees planted in the fall have the benefit of three seasons to adjust to a new environment before the stress of summer’s heat hits.   If you recently planted a tree on your residential or commercial property, you may be wondering how to best protect that investment.  There are simple steps that can ensure your newly planted tree gets off to a healthy start.

Provide Adequate Water

Water is essential to the ongoing life and health of every tree.  For a newly transplanted tree, it is especially important.  Planting is extremely stressful for a tree.  Without the established root system that trees develop over the years, a new transplant doesn’t have the ability to search the soil for needed moisture.  If a newly planted tree doesn’t get the hydration it needs while building a healthy root system, it may not survive. For this reason, it is important to water trees during dry periods for the first few years after planting during which time the root system is being established.

Weed Around the Tree

During times when the soil is dry, all plants will compete for whatever water can be found in the soil.  Since water is vital for a tree’s survival, you will want to make sure that there are no unwanted plants competing with your newly transplanted tree for water.  Get rid of all weeds that are growing near the base of the tree and weed regularly to make sure that these nuisance plants don’t have a chance to put down their own roots.

Apply Mulch Correctly

To help keep moisture in the soil around a newly planted tree, it is a good idea to mulch around the tree.  This will also prevent weeds from springing up and diverting moisture from the tree.  However, it is important to apply mulch correctly.  Mulching too heavily or too close to the base of the tree can cause serious damage to any tree.  For more information on how to mulch correctly, see our blog on this topic.

Delay Pruning

We’ve talked about what to do for your tree, but there are also things you should not do.  Heavy pruning is one tree care task that should not be done immediately after planting.  While sometimes it is necessary to take off a few branches, in most circumstances it is best to delay pruning for at least a year.  You don’t want to add more stress to an already stressed tree.

The investment of a tree can yield rewards for many years to come.  It is worthwhile to administer proper care to newly planted trees as they become healthy and established.  Put the effort in now and you will have a beautiful tree to enjoy for years to come.  Ping’s would love to partner with you in keeping your trees strong and healthy.  From planting to trimming to diagnosing problems, the experts at Ping’s know how to apply best tree care practices. We’ll help you get the most out of your tree investments.

Choosing the Right Tree to Plant

Planting a tree is making an investment in your residential or commercial property.  Trees add value to your property and enjoyment to your activities.  In your yard, trees provide shade for outdoor living and beauty that can be enjoyed from within and outside of your home.  On commercial properties, trees can help keep energy costs low, screen unattractive views, and even contribute to a positive workplace atmosphere.  When you plant a tree, it may very likely remain in its place for the entirety of your life, or even beyond.  Therefore, you want to make the most of your investment by choosing just the right tree to plant.  To ensure you make the right choice, consider these questions.

What Kind of a Tree Are You Looking For?

First of all, you should think about why you are planting this tree and what you want from the tree.  Are you planting for shade?  Are you trying to add a particular aesthetic element to your yard or commercial property?  Do you want a flowering tree or a fruit tree?  Knowing what you expect from the tree will help you start making your list of possible trees that can be whittled down by additional considerations.

How Large Will the Tree Grow?

The sapling that you plant today will not stay small for long.  Sometimes it hard to imagine just how large your tiny transplant will eventually become.  But it’s important to consider the mature size of the tree before you plant.  Will the tree block beloved views or get in the way of power lines or permanent structures?  Consider also where the shade from the mature tree will fall.

How Fast Will the Tree Grow?

Another factor you may want to consider is the rate of growth of the tree you will plant.  Each tree variety has its own rate of growth.  Before planting, you should be aware that fast-growing trees often do not have as much strength as slower-growing trees.  You must weigh the short-term benefit against the liability that a weaker tree can be in the long run.

What Trees Do Well in Your Climate?

Finally, perhaps the most important consideration is whether a tree is suited to the location where it is planted.  Not every tree will thrive in every environment.  Obviously, a tree that does well in the tropics is not going to survive here in central Indiana.  Before you plant, think about your hardiness zone and whether a tree can tolerate the cold winters that we experience.  In addition, you need to consider the soil type and drainage in your yard.  Our clients often ask us what trees we recommend for planting in the Indianapolis area.  Of course, you must consider the particular conditions on your property, but the following list of trees that generally do well in our area is a good place to start.

  • Small trees – crabapple, magnolias, Japanese maples
  • Medium-sized trees – red point maple, Canadian red chokecherry, greenspire linden
  • Large trees – swamp white oak, red oak, tulip poplar, elm

Fall is a great time to plant trees so if you’re considering making that investment, you may want to do it in the near future.  I hope this blog has given you some guidance in your choice of the right tree to plant in your yard.  And we can also help with the actual planting! Our experts can plant any tree for you, giving you the assurance that your tree will be planted in the correct way and given a good growing start.  Call us today at 317-298-8482 or schedule a consultation at your convenience.

Helpful Information About USDA Hardiness Zones

When adding plants or trees to your landscape or yard, it is important to evaluate whether a particular plant will do well in the spot you have picked out for it.  Plants are living things that are sensitive to the environment.  Not every plant or tree will thrive in every location.  One element of the environment that can have a significant impact on plants is temperature.  Knowing your hardiness zone can help you assess the compatibility of a tree or plant with your location.

What Are USDA Hardiness Zones?

The USDA has divided the country into 13 hardiness zones.  These zones have been developed to indicate the average lowest temperature for a specific location based on historic temperature data.  Each zone (Zones 1 through 13 from coldest to warmest) represents a 10-degree temperature range of the average minimum temperature.  The zones are further divided into A (colder) and B (warmer) subdivisions.

Indianapolis and the surrounding central Indiana area fall in Zones 5B and 6A. Zone 5B has an average minimum temperature between -15 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Zone 6A has an average minimum temperature between -10 and -5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Visit the USDA website to view a detailed map and find the hardiness zone for your zip code.

Why Do Hardiness Zones Matter?

Is it important to know your hardiness zone?  If you plan to do any landscaping or planting on your property, it definitely is important.  The hardiness zone tells you how cold you can expect temperatures to get on the coldest days of winter.  Temperature is one component of the climate that can have a serious negative effect on plants.  All trees and plants have a range of temperatures which they can tolerate.  A tree or plant that experiences temperatures outside of that range may even die from the exposure.  You should only plant those trees and plants that can tolerate temperatures expected in your hardiness zone.

How Can Hardiness Zones Help You Plant Smarter?

The hardiness zone is very important for trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers.  However, for annual flowers, this doesn’t matter.  They cannot survive the colder temperatures of winter and are meant to bloom beautifully for the summer and then die.  However, if you are planting perennial flowers, shrubs, bushes, or trees, you will want them to live through many years.  This means that they must be able to withstand both the warm, sunny days of summer and the bitterly cold days of winter.

Temperature vary greatly from season to season (or even day to day here in central Indiana).  Planting vegetation in the sunny days of spring, it’s hard to remember that the icy days of winter will come eventually.  As you consider what to plant, make sure you investigate your hardiness zone and whether the tree or plant you are considering will thrive there.

Nature can be harsh without protection from the elements.  People live in houses and wear clothes to keep the wind, heat or cold, and precipitation from harming us.  Even animals can move to shelter from storms or extreme temperature.  In contrast, a tree, shrub, or plant must endure nature’s best and worst without the ability to move or cover itself.  Without the ability to protect themselves, plants are very vulnerable to extreme weather.   Fortunately, the USDA hardiness zones can help you determine whether a plant is suited for your location before you plant it.

Spring Has Sprung: Time for Planting Season

As the weather continues to warm up, property owners are getting ready to pick their favorite trees and get them planted during prime tree-planting season.  Spring is a great time to add new life to your landscape, and getting trees planted early can aid in their growth and survival throughout the year.  When choosing a tree specimen to plant, there are several factors to keep in mind.

Man and woman planting tree

Location.  How close will the tree be to a structure?  Do I need it for shade?  Will it attract birds to the area?  Will it enhance the overall appearance of the property?

Availability.  Are these trees readily available in the area?

Size.  How large will this specimen grow?  How much will it spread out?

Hardiness.  How will the tree stand up to the changes in temperature and conditions of the area?

Rate of Growth.  How fast will the tree grow?

Space.  How much room is available to allow the tree to grow naturally?  How much room does it need above and below ground?

Appearance.  Does the tree fit the landscape around it?  How will it look when fully matured?  What is the color and texture of the bark, flowers, foliage, fruit, etc?

Nourishment.  What are the moisture requirements for this specific specimen?  What type of fertilization is needed?

Maintenance.  What type of pruning will be needed to keep this tree looking its best?

Need help choosing your tree?  Our Certified Arborists are experts in tree selection and planting.  They analyze the area by considering soil conditions, presence of channelized winds, proximity to structures and other important factors to determine the tree specimen options that will best thrive and add curb appeal to your property.

Don’t forget to check your community restrictions and what is allowed by HOA’s and municipalities.  Also consider having the utilities marked on your property before getting your heart set on a particular location.  Call 811 for the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline to get assistance.


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