Caring for Your New Tree


Trees are generally transplanted with only a small proportion of their root system and must spend the first few seasons growing sufficient roots to support new twig growth. As a result, newly planted trees tend to have small leaves, some shoots die back, and the crown may look thin.


Regular watering is important to establish a strong root system. Do not water every day. Infrequent, deep soakings are better than frequent, shallow watering. Soil should be kept moist at all times, however too much watering may actually drown the roots, causing leaves to turn yellow and fall off.


Watering Guidelines

Watering guidelines are dependent on the time of year your trees are planted. For example:

  • April & May planting - water day 1 & 5, and once on weeks 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16. Stop watering by mid-September.

  • June planting - water day 1, 5, 10 & 15, and once on weeks 4, 6, 8 & 10. Stop watering by mid-September.

  • July planting - water day 1, 5, 10 & 15, and once on weeks 4, 6 & 8. Stop watering by mid-September.

  • August planting - water day 1, 5, 10 & 15, and once on week 4. Stop watering by mid-September.

  • September planting - water day 1 & 5 and once on weeks 2 & 3.

  • October, November & December planting - water once day 1.

It is not necessary to water plants at times when Mother Nature provides minimum of 1 inch of water per week. Trees may also require watering 2 or 3 times in the 2nd year after planting, during long hot, dry periods in the summer.


Tree stakes may be necessary while the tree develops a firm anchorage from the expanding root system; it also assists in keeping the tree straight. The stakes should be checked at the beginning of the second growing season and loosened, if necessary, to avoid stem abrasion or girdling. Support is not usually needed after the end of the second growing season. Please remove the stakes or call us to have them removed.


Trees have only a thin layer of tissue just under the bark, which may be killed by bruising as well as tearing of the bark. Plants do not repair damaged tissue as people do, but will grow to surround a wound with new tissue. During the time of enclosure, wounds may become infected with bacteria or decay causing fungi. If a tree is stressed, as is commonly the case after planting, it may not be able to
contain the spread of disease and may die prematurely. Please take care to avoid wounding stems or branches. Retaining the mulch around the base of the tree will help to keep moisture in, reduce weeds and avoid damage from lawn mowing equipment.


Tree roots are vital to a tree's survival. Many people do not realize that roots require oxygen as well as water and nutrients. Soil compaction or raising the ground level around the base of a tree reduces available oxygen to the roots and may cause poor tree growth or death. In urban areas, roots are close to the surface and may be easily damaged by gardening or landscaping. Planting flowers at the base of the tree may also be detrimental if roots are cut during soil cultivation. Whenever possible, try to create mulch around the base of the tree using organic material such as shredded leaves or wood mulch.


Nitrogen rich fertilizers should not be added immediately after planting as this may promote twig growth before the roots have had a chance to recover. We suggest "plant starter" (e.g., 10-52-10) to help promote root growth.

Nitrogen rich fertilizer may benefit the tree in the 2nd or 3rd year, particularly if leaves are yellowish in colour and small. There are numerous ways to go about fertilizing your trees:

  1. Surface or broadcast fertilization. We suggest a slow release fertilizer,  available at most garden centres.

  2. Fertilizer spikes inserted into the ground around the tree drip line spaced 2-1/2 feet apart. Available at most garden centres.

  3. Drill 2 inch wide and 10 inch deep holes around the tree drip line spaced 3 feet apart. Fill in the holes with slow release granular fertilizer.

  4. Deep root liquid injection. This is the most effective fertilizing procedure. It is a slow release formula (released over 2 years), injected directly into the root area of the tree with power equipment. This fractures and aerates the soil so that water, oxygen and fertilizer become available to the feeder roots. It nourishes the tree and helps protect it from natural enemies, disease, insects and storm damage. We provide this service.

Thank you for choosing Stevens Large Tree Sales.

Remember... caring for your trees after planting is as important as the planting process itself. There is no doubt that trees are worth protecting - they are an investment and add thousands of dollars of real value to your home.

Protect your trees for their beauty and value.

Henry Stevens
Certified Arborist
Stevens Large Tree Sales