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It’s a sad statistic: new trees are at the highest risk of dying within the first year of being planted. Follow these basic tips to keep your latest landscape additions alive and well for years to come:

Remove the burlap, wire and container – Trees need to regrow their roots in a new location. Remove any rope or wire from the tree’s trunk and pull back burlap from the top third of the root ball.

Don’t plant too deeply – Trees need to be planted with the root flare set at or slightly above the soil line. Anything deeper and it could lead to a host of problems, including stem-girdling roots, which could eventually kill a tree.

No fertilizer is necessary – Fertilizer is not recommended for newly planted trees because it can cause more harm than good. It’s more important to regularly water the soil during the first year.

Mulch, but not too much – Avoid placing mulch right up against the tree trunk. This will discourage and keep pests away. Spread mulch two to four inches thick out to the edge of the root ball and one to two feet farther, if possible. This will help conserve soil moisture and allow for water to be readily available to the new tree.