Shade Tree Care
Planting Shade Trees
Dig a hole about twice the width and about as deep as the root ball.
- Place your tree level in the hole. You want your tree to be slightly above the existing soil line. Planting too deep can cause your tree to struggle and even die.
- Fill the hole with water. Yes, even before you fill the soil in around the roots. New trees like a lot of water. This helps their roots establish quicker and grow better.
- Backfill the soil and tamp it down to remove air pockets. Do not stomp on the ground as it can compact the soil and make it harder for your tree to get established.
- Fertilize with a balanced slow release fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is safe for new plantings and gives your tree a great start.
- Mulch your shade tree with 1 to 2 inches of mulch extended at least a few inches past the root zone. Mulch helps the ground retain moisture and keeps competing weeds at bay. Do not pile up mulch against the trunk. This can cause trapped moisture and invite pests and diseases to damage your tree.
- Water again until the ground is saturated. Water deeply at least twice a week for the first month and once weekly for months 2 and 3 while your tree is establishing. We recommend using a hose with no attachments and letting it run until the water starts pooling.
Caring for Shade Trees
Shade trees generally prefer full sun and well-draining soil. But many adapt to tougher soils like clay and can tolerate wet soil. It is important to research the tree you desire to be sure your site is a good location.
Watering isn’t needed often once your shade tree is established, but watering, especially during times of drought and heat, can help your tree be healthier and grow faster. Water deeply with a hose at the base of your tree. Watering deeply for a few minutes or until the water begins to pool is the best way to water your tree. Watering more often with small amounts of water can actually encourage unhealthy shallow roots.
Feed your shade tree in spring with a slow release fertilizer. This can give your tree a boost if it seems to be growing slow or the foliage looks lighter in color than normal. This can mean a nutrient deficiency.
If you live in a windy location or your young tree starts to lean to one side staking may be necessary. Tree stake kits are easy to use, affordable, and readily available.
Shade tree care is extremely easy once your tree is established. Most shade trees don’t require any maintenance. Once your tree is planted and established you are made in the shade!