Anyone who has been in Utah in the summer is well aware of how hot it can get. Daytime temps can frequently stay above 100 degrees. If you have young trees or are planning on getting some, remember that they need extra care in summer. The heat and dry soil can damage young trees in very little time. Fortunately, young tree care in Utah’s summer is something anyone can do.
Utah Summers – Young Tree Care
According to Utah State University, the best time to plant trees is in the early to mid-spring. Of course, you may not always wind up planting in spring. You could even wind up planting trees in the summer. For example, if you bought a new home and wanted to plant some trees. Or, if a friend or family member gave you a tree as a gift. Regardless of whether you planted in spring or summer if you have young trees you need to take special care in Utah’s summer.
Here are some helpful young tree care tips you can follow. And as always, if you have any questions, just give our Utah Tree Co. team a call and we will be happy to answer them.
1. Thoroughly water in a new tree.
Most people don’t know that up to 95% of a tree’s roots are removed whenever you transplant it. That’s a serious reduction in a tree’s ability to absorb water. When you plant a tree – and up to two years after planting – the tree’s biggest need is water.
When you first plant a tree, use a hose and/or bucket to water its root ball and the surrounding area completely. Let the water soak into the soil. If holes open when you are watering, fill them in with soil but don’t pack the soil too firmly.
2. Assess your soil drainage.
It can be tempting to water the new tree over and over, but it’s better to only water when needed. It’s Utah in summer! That’s true, but young tree care is all about assessing the individual needs of the tree. You may have sandy soil, clay, or some other combination. The slope also affects drainage. It’s possible you could overwater your tree if the drainage is poor.
A quick way to assess the drainage is to put the tree in the hole and fill it in with enough dirt to stand up. Then, fill the hole with water and wait for it to drain. If it drains quickly, you will need to water more frequently. If it drains slowly, you will need to water less frequently.
3. Estimate water needs and set a schedule.
Good general guidelines for water absorption are:
- Sandy soil – 2 inches of water an hour
- Loam soil – ¾ an inch per hour
- Clay soil – ½ inch per hour
Once you know how much water you need, you can set a schedule to make sure the tree gets enough. You can hand water, use a sprinkler, or use drip irrigation. Your goal should be to get the water to penetrate deeply into the soil – which means slower watering is better. Shallow watering leads to shallow root growth and instability.
Another thing to keep in mind is the time of day you water. In Utah in the summer, it’s best to water early in the morning or late in the evening. Otherwise, a lot of the water is likely to evaporate before it penetrates the soil.
5. Mulch around the tree.
Mulch doesn’t just look good – it promotes tree health. Put down a layer of mulch at least three or four inches deep and in a wide circle around the base. Aim to have mulch surrounding the tree by at least two feet.
6. Avoid unneeded pruning.
It’s best to avoid pruning young trees until they are well-established. Try not to prune for at least the first six months – maybe longer. However, it is ok to remove dead or diseased material. Removing dead or diseased branches is important for the health of the tree. But other pruning, such as pruning to improve appearance, will stress the tree.
7. Get help from the experts.
The surest way to make sure your young trees stay healthy is to get expert help from arborists. At Utah Tree Co., our arborists know young tree care inside and out. We have been helping Utah homeowners with their trees for years. Our team can give you knowledgeable advice on how to take care of your trees – and we can provide hands-on assistance as well.
If you have questions about tree care in Salt Lake City, Orem, Kaysville, or anywhere else in the area, please give us a call. You can reach us by phone at (801) 330-8861 or by filling out our secure online contact form.
We look forward to helping you protect your young trees!