Thank you for taking the time to read or reply to this message in advance,
We just planted 3 new trees in the backyard and would like to now if there
is a need to fertilize them now with a rooting compound or just keep them
well watered until they are established. We live in Utah and summer
is very little if at all and would like the peach, corkscrew willow, and a
honeylocust to get off to a good start before the dry spell comes along.
Any freshly plant tree tips you can offer is gladly accepted too.
Thank you again
Keep them watered, it can take 2 years for a tree to become
established and develop root systems sufficient to support the tree
One of the best things you could do is keep an organic mulch around
the trees to hold soil moisture and decay into humus rich soil. The
mulch also means the trees won't have to compete with turf or weeds
for nutrients. Here grass clippings work well so do wood chips. Just
keep the mulch a few inches back from the trunks and extend it out at
least as far as the tree is tall.
Spoiled hay would work so would nut shells or shredded bark. Here I
tend to use whatever is free but many people buy their mulches.
If you want to fertillize next year 3 lbs of 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 per
100 sq ft would be OK.
The ISA has a series of brochures to answer your basic questions at
If you followed those steps correctly, just make sure the trees get
enough water. In the beginning, water poured in the container soil
might just leach out into the native soil, where the trees have no
roots. Once or twice a day, put a hose at the base just long enough
to saturate the original root ball. After a week or so of this, start
widening your scope and taper off gradually (eventually, the trees
should have roots extending 2X-3X their height, mostly in the top
12"-24"). Always stick a finger in the soil before watering to make
sure it isn't staying soaked all the time. After a month, you can
probably water once a week. After a six months to a year (how hot is
it there in summer?) you can taper off completely except in times of
drought. deeper watering, less often should be your ultimate goal.
You already planted. A few mistakes are so severe that if you made
them, you should dig the trees up and plant them again. Check for
If they were b&b, you should have removed the burlap and wire/string
that held it. If you got all you could but left some under the root
ball, that's ok. If there is a thick wire or nylon cord wrapped
around the trunk, that's very bad. If there is burlap all the way
around the root ball and no direct contact with native soil, that's
very bad. If there is a wire basket around the root ball, that is
If they were in containers, they may have been victims of poor nursery
practices. First, they tend to get planted deeper and deeper as they
are potted up. By the time you get them, the primary root flares may
be several inches deep. This is very bad. The primary root flare
should be visible at the surface and able to dry out in fair weather.
Also, if trees stay in a small pot too long, roots can circle around
the outside and create a "noose" for the trunk that won't actually "do
the job" for many years. If both these problems are combined, layers
of fine, adventitious roots form in the added soil, creating a blanket
of little girdling roots to choke the major flares later.
Third, if you planted it too deep (because of the nursery or just
because that's how you did it), that's very bad (for the reasons cited
above). You should locate the primary root flares, and if they are
below the surrounding grade, dig the tree up and plant it higher. Do
it now, while it's still relatively easy. If you simply can't or
won't, at least remove the excess soil in a wide, shallow bowl or
build a tree well to let the root system breathe. Ruthlessly remove
any roots that circle the trunk or cross over a primary flare. Mulch
ISA Certified Arborist
For more info about the International Society of Arboriculture, please visit
For consumer info about tree care, visit http://www.treesaregood.com /
1. Run a length of 1/2" PVC pipe up into the crown of each tree. Terminate
with a 360 degree mist head. Run a water line to each piece and mist the
trees 1 hour in the morning at sunrise and 1 hour in the evening just prior
2. No fertilizer for 30 days then use a balanced fertilizer, 2 cups per tree
1 foot outside the root ball to 6 inches from the trunk.
3. Mulch with a good mulch (don't know what you use in Utah. Here we use
cypress) leaving a 6" gap at the trunk of the tree.
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