Tree Foundation of Kern


To insure that your tree grows up strong and healthy, take good care of it while it is young until it gets established.

WATER is critical, because it carries nutrients from the root ball up the trunk to the leaves. In the heat of our dry summers, trees can become water stressed. Wilted and/or dark color leaves are indicators of insufficient watering. Severe water stress causes leaves to yellow and drop off. Trees can be planted at any time of the year in Kern County, but be aware that Nature is more forgiving in the winter and early spring. Trees planted in late spring or in the heat of the summer are sure candidates for water stress. Here are some things you can do to help your trees get through their first few summers in Kern County.

Be Efficient

BUILD A BERM around the tree 3 to 4 feet wide and 4 inches high. Be sure that you water inside the berm. A berm of this size will hold a large amount of water which will be directed to the roots.

CONTROL WEEDS in the berm to decrease competition for moisture.

FERTILIZE appropriately. A strong, vigorous tree and root system will make better use of available water.

DON'T FEEL GUILTY about watering your trees. Less than 4% of California's developed water supply is used for landscape, including homes and businesses, golf courses, public parks and roadways. It would take a 25% cut in landscape watering to save just 1% of California's water supply.

ADJUST STAKES as needed. Remove them as soon as the tree can stand straight on its own.

FERTILIZE with nitrogen regularly. Nitrogen is the element most lacking in Kern County soil, and trees respond well to regular feeding. At time of planting, apply three-quarters of a cup of ammonium sulfate containing 21% nitrogen in a three foot area on the surface of the soil, staying 6 inches away from the trunk. Water thoroughly and repeat in six weeks, and according to manufacturer's instructions thereafter.

ADD MULCH to inside of berm to retain moisture and control weeds. DO NOT COVER TRUNK WITH MULCH and risk of rotting root crown.