DEP Home : Climate Change : How to Plant and Care for Trees
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Mulching can be beneficial to some trees if done properly. It can protect them from mowers, reduce the need for weeding, protect them from extreme temperatures, and provide additional moisture. Put mulch around all trees twice a year to maintain a layer between 2 and 3 inches deep. Mulching keeps weeds and grass away from trees so they won’t use the water before it gets to the tree roots. Mulch around your trees also conserves moisture in the soil, adds nutrients and organic matter, and keeps it cooler.
Download a set of printable Mulch Meters! (PDF, 2pp, 168K)
Newly planted trees require extra water in the summer when its hot. Be sure to water young trees each week that it doesn’t rain significantly in the summer, especially July and August. Each tree should receive three to five gallons of water per week. Established trees and shrubs rarely need watering besides rain water; however, in the heat of July and August watering big trees helps reduce stress and makes trees healthier.
Slow and SteadyTree roots require slow, deep watering. Don't water with a spray nozzle. Instead, try one of the following methods:
Do not fertilize newly planted trees. In later years, fertilizing might be beneficial. You can get help to determine appropriate methods and rates of application by contacting the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center at 1.800.342.2507.
Deep Root FertilizationYou may not hear them complaining, but your trees are hungry. Trees growing in our yards and cities rarely receive the same nutrients they would if they were growing in a forest. In order to increase your trees’ vigor, deep-root fertilization can add those nutrients back into the soil. Well-nourished trees are stronger and less susceptible to disease, insects, drought, and other stresses.
Deep-root fertilization effectively provides nutrients to trees because it is directed to a tree’s feeder roots. Getting fertilizer below the grass to the roots of trees is important and not overly complex. Many licensed tree care companies offer this service, but it can also be done on your own with the proper supplies including an auger or fertilizer probe, hose, and a measuring tape.
"How to" Deep Root Fertilize
Marylanders Plant Trees - Save $25 on a new tree!Be counted toward the state's goal of 50,000 trees by 2010—and save $25 when you buy a new tree! Check out www.trees.maryland.gov for information and to receive your printable discount coupon. After planting, register your trees and calculate the benefits they provide. Let's make Montgomery County one of the best contributors in the state!
Download a printable discount coupon (PDF, 1 pg, 359K)
Leaves for Neighborhoods - Save $25 on a new tree!Montgomery Planning Department's Leaves for Neighborhoods program will save you green when you plant trees. Print out the coupon to save $25 on a tree purchase of $75 or more. At nurseries participating in both this program and the state program (Marylanders Plant Trees), you can use both coupons to save the most!
Planting a tree sounds easy enough, but there are a few things to consider before the tree goes in the ground. By making a handful of careful choices as you select what to buy and where to plant it, your tree will be healthier and you’ll enjoy it more.
Select the right tree for the right place. Where do you want to plant your tree(s) and why? Planting a tree for shade can save energy. Consider the full size potential, or how big the tree will grow, before you plant. Check for utility lines overhead, and always call Miss-Utility at 1.800.257.7777 or submit a request online before you dig.
Select the right tree species for your site. Native trees are preferable to non-natives because of their natural pest and disease resistance and adaptation to the local landscape. View a list of native trees and shrubs commonly found in the Piedmont region. Learn more about buying native plants from the Maryland Native Plant Society.
Select the best tree from the nursery. When choosing a containerized tree (a tree grown in a pot vs. a ball & burlap), check for girdling or encircling roots. Have a nursery assistant help you slide the root ball out of the container to get a good look at it. You should see a root system that is proportionate in size to the crown.And you should see some new growth – look for clean white tips on the ends of the roots. Avoid undersized or discolored leaves that do not look “normal”, and avoid heavily pruned branches.
TREE-Mendous Maryland can provide high-quality native trees at low cost, for use on public property only. Qualifying public property includes: community open space, school grounds, government facilities, and rights-of-way. Fall is the best time to plant, so start your planning now!
Maryland Native Plant Society provides information on shopping for native plants in the Middle Atlantic region.