Once your tree is planted you can start to enjoy its true beauty but remember that ongoing care will ensure your Winter Hill Tree Farm tree thrives and remains in good health.
There are really only three things you need to do:
For the first 12 months your tree should not be drying out. Long soaks twice a week are better than a quick sprinkle every day. When watering you need to be soaking the whole volume of the rootball and some surrounding soil. Frequency varies due to differing soil types, for example a heavy soil will not dry out as quickly as a sandy soil. If you are unsure do a ‘poke test’. Poke a finger into the soil at the base of the tree and determine if you can feel moisture 3-5cm down. If you can’t then it needs water. If you can then you can wait another day before you give it a drink.
However, you should remember that there is such a thing as too much love and that also relates to water. Take care not to overwater your tree using the ‘poke test’.
Keep an eye on the appearance of your tree. The leaves will tell you if the tree needs more to drink, or is getting too much water.
The leaves on a tree suffering stress from lack of water will initially start to lose their lustre. They will then start to curl up and go brown. A tree suffering from too much water will show some yellowing of the leaves and they will also show signs of drooping. These two opposing problems are sometimes hard to distinguish so once again do the ‘poke test’.
Don’t despair if you do see signs of stress. It doesn’t automatically mean you will lose your tree. If you take action early enough there is a good chance your tree can recover. If underwatering is the problem give your tree a good soak for a couple of days and then revert to a watering regime that keeps the rootball moist but not sodden.
It is important to note that no matter the season, the size of the tree or the care that you take, many trees will suffer an element of ‘transplant shock’ after being planted. This might mean the tree starts to look a bit sick or even lose all its foliage but it isn’t necessarily a sign the tree is dying. Maintain your watering and keep an eye out for green shoots which will be the first sign your tree is recovering. An application of seasol can be used as a root tonic (follow directions on bottle for stressed/transplant trees).
A slow release fertiliser should be applied to your tree each spring for the first three or four years. This should be applied to the soil under the mulch in a circle around the dripline.