How To Grow A Healthy Tree

Like children, young trees need care. And all urban trees need water, protection, and extra attention to keep them healthy and long-living. Get an overview from Arbor Day Foundation and City Plants.

The first three years of life are the most critical for your young tree. Learn how to care for it properly so that it will grow strong and tall, providing you shade for years to come. If questions arise regarding your tree, consult with the nursery where you purchased the tree or send us a message.


Watering regularly is crucial to help your tree survive its first 3 – 5 years in its new home. Deep water your trees twice a week with 5 gallons of water. In the second year, water once a week with 10 to 15 gallons of water, and in the second year, water every two weeks.  Then water deeply once a month as tree grows, in the summer and any months that there is no significant precipitation.


Mulching helps save water and promotes healthy root growth. Placing mulch like wood chips around the base of your tree has many benefits, from reducing temperature, to keeping out weeds, to protecting from moisture extremes. It’s best to place mulch 2 – 4 inches deep and cover as much of the tree’s root system as possible. Keep mulch 4 – 6 inches away from your tree’s trunk. More info about mulching? “Mulches: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” 51-minute video,


During the first two years, leave lower branches on your young trees to encourage growth. After two years, you can begin shaping your tree for healthy structure. Do not remove more than 25% of the tree’s live branches in one year, and make sure there is always one central leader to encourage good structural growth. For more detailed information on young tree pruning, check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s Young Tree Pruning Guide, 2 pages. Remember, never “top” your tree!