How To Protect Young Trees: 4 Tips

Did you recently plant a new sapling in your landscape? Seeing it blossom from a tender shoot into a robust tree can be a rewarding and gratifying journey. Unfortunately, younger specimens are often more susceptible to Mother Nature’s unpredictability and predatory threats, so it helps to stay alert.

As the go-to crew for tree services like a tree risk assessment in Mt. Airy, GA, Clark Tree Experts love to help fellow gardeners address these sorts of challenges. Keep reading and learn how to protect young trees so that you can give your saplings their best shot at a long, verdant life.

Arborist Tip #1: Eliminate the Competition

A plethora of plant species eager to stake their claim will see any open ground in your garden as an invitation. These opportunists include weeds and grass, which will compete with your tree for water, light, and essential nutrients. 

Consider these strategies to give your young tree some ammunition in the survival game:


Mulch not only suppresses potential competitors, but it also conserves soil-based moisture and can neaten up your landscape. Organic materials, such as wood chips or straw, will also contribute to soil health as they decompose. 

To protect saplings, apply a two-to-three inches of mulch around the tree’s base. Leave a few inches of space around the tree trunks to prevent issues with rot and pests.


Herbicides might seem dramatic, but they can be a younger tree’s lifesaver. Pre-emergent solutions prevent wild seeds from germinating, while post-emergent products will tackle weeds and other plants that have already sprouted. 

Remember, timing is everything. Apply the herbicide earlier in the growing season before weeds can take root. Otherwise, they’ll be a bigger headache to eliminate.

Arborist Tip #2: Install Tree Tubes

Tree tubes are also known as “tree toters” or “tree shelters.” These devices put a fantastic tool into your sapling-protection arsenal. They’re plastic cylinders that encase a juvenile tree to safeguard it from enemies such as:

  • Voracious rabbits or rodents
  • Deer
  • Accidental lawn equipment damage
  • Harsh weather

Tree tubes also enhance growth by acting as a mini-greenhouse to increase photosynthetic and transpiration rates in your young tree specimen.

Most plastic tree guards utilize schedule 40 PVC materials for reusability and convenience. They also come with zip ties so that you can easily slide them over and cinch them onto the plant.

Arborist Tip #3: Prepare for the Winter

The drastic temperature shifts, desiccating winds, and the weight of ice and snow can wreak havoc on tender bark and branches. Protect young trees by helping them with the following:

Burlap Wraps

Burlap wraps shield your saplings from harsh winds while mitigating the risk of sunscald. It’s a winter coat for your trees that you can purchase at gardening stores or online. 


Antitranspirants, or “leaf sealers,” are sprays. They form a thin, protective layer on the foliage, reducing the moisture loss induced by the cold winter winds. Apply the product between late fall and early winter for best results. 

Arborist Tip #4: Consult a Local Expert

When it comes to plant care, no one understands the intricacies better than specialists like Clark Tree Experts. Help your vulnerable seedling and sapling thrive with the following services:

  • Assess and tackle the biggest threats to their health
  • Provide the best care methods for your specific tree type and environment
  • Minimize aesthetic defects, like leaf scars and uneven growth
  • Deliver emergency treatments after severe weather or a disease outbreak

Clark Tree Experts will protect young trees like a lioness protecting her cubs, so give us a call at (706) 949-9016 today to see how we can help your trees in Georgia or South Carolina!

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