Tree Care Tips for Earth Day

— Written By

Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as one of the largest observances in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year. Which has caused the planting of tens of millions of trees worldwide. Now let’s learn a little more about what it takes to plant a tree.

Rows of young maple trees in plastic pots

Rows of young maple trees in plastic pots at a plant nursery.

Choosing the Right Type of Tree

Proper tree care begins with selecting the right tree and planting it in the right place. Make sure your tree will thrive — especially once fully grown — where you want to plant it. Things to consider include:

  • The tree’s purpose. Are you planting it for aesthetics, privacy, shade/energy reduction, windbreak, or as a street tree? Your end goal will determine the suitability of different trees.
  • Tree database. The NC State Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox is based on an evaluation of plant databases around the world, surveys of Extension agents, Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers (EMGVs) plant database users, and focus groups. Based on themes gathered from this data we have created an innovative tool for gardeners, MGVs, extension staff, landscape professionals, university staff, and students. The primary goal of the plant database is to help people select plants that will bring them joy, provide a valuable function in their landscape, and thrive where planted.

Proper Mulching

Mulch is a newly planted tree’s best friend because it:

Tree Watering

Tree watering is a key part of tree care, but it is difficult to recommend an exact amount due to the variety of climates. A few guidelines will help you to water your trees properly.

Watering Newly Planted Trees

For new trees, water immediately after you plant a tree. Usually, 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose with a diffuser nozzle per tree seedling is sufficient.

Watering Trees During First Two Years

During the first couple of growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy trying to get its roots established in the soil. Especially during the first few summers of your new tree’s life, it will have a difficult time dealing with heat and drought. You can make this easier by providing water and covering the soil with wood-chip mulch. Deep watering can help speed the root establishment. Deepwater consists of keeping the soil moist to a depth that includes all the roots.

If you have questions regarding tree care, contact Bryan Hartman, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at 336-593-8179 or