University of Maryland Extension

After Planting Care

Staking and Guying Trees

You do not have to support a newly planted tree. Research has shown that the natural movement of the trunk by the wind actually stimulates root growth and increases trunk caliper more quickly than with staked trees. If the tree is unusually large or is planted in a windy area, staking or guying may be needed for the first year. Staking involves the use of two, 5- to 6-foot wooden stakes driven into the ground near the base of the tree but not into the root ball. The tree is secured to the stakes with wires. The wires are covered with short lengths of hose where they come in contact with the tree trunk.  All supports should be removed after one year. This is what happens if the wires and support are not removed. 


Check soil moisture of newly planted trees and shrubs at least once a week. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine. If the soil begins to dry out, water the plant thoroughly. Do not overwater; however, you can easily drown newly planted trees and shrubs through too much tender loving care with the hose.

Mulchingmulch island under trees

You can maximize growth of new trees and shrubs by having a mulched area instead of grass under the plants. This reduces competition for nutrients and moisture. Apply mulch as far out as the spread of the branches but no more than three inches in thickness. Mulch should never touch the bark of the plant!


Newly planted trees do not benefit from fertilizer. During the establishment period (up to two years) root growth is more important than top growth. Mature trees also do not need fertilizer because as trees age and mature the growth process slows down. In the landscape, woody plants receive nutrients from lawn fertilizer if their roots are adjacent to or growing in turf areas. And nutrients are provided by decomposing organic matter such as fallen leaves, decaying mulch, and minerals in the soil. 


Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility