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Your 10 Year Tree Maintenance Plan


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images + Provided

Planting a tree in your yard is a long-term commitment. If you plan to stay in your current home through the next 10 years, you will also be caring for that tree throughout that same time! This 10-year care guide by Steve Nix from Thought Co., How to Maintain a Tree Through the Next Decade, will get you started on the right path and help you plan your tree maintenance in advance.

Specimen trees in the landscape need consistent care over time to ensure their continued health, proper conditions for growth and to prevent hazardous conditions that threaten surrounding property. Here is a tree care schedule developed by the United States Forest Service for a tree owner's use and listed according to tree care type.

Watering the Tree

The key to newly planted tree survival is providing adequate water. Although the first 3 years are most critical, a tree's watering needs should be maintained for life. Initially, a newly planted tree needs to be properly watered with an adequate amount to pack the soil, to remove root-drying air and to moisten the root ball. On adequately draining soils, 5 gallons of initial water should be enough. Fast draining soils may need more frequent watering than a slow draining soil.

  • Year 1 - 3: It is most critical to provide adequate water during the annual growing season, between late spring and autumn.
  • Year 4 and after: You can relax a bit on tree watering in later years but water may be needed during long periods of drought.

READ MORE: How to Maintain a Tree Through the Next Decade