Purchasing trees can be a great investment for your property, but it’s important to take care of them properly, and this means right from the very start, when you are purchasing your tree and when you are bringing it home.

Research any shade or ornamental trees you are interested in BEFORE buying them, and know exactly how much space you will need in your landscape in order for the tree to achieve full, mature growth. If you don’t know how big your tree will be at maturity, you risk:

  • An abundance of extra pruning. Why would you want to spend time hacking off limbs of a tree to fit it into your designated area, when there is most likely a specimen will be the perfect fit at maturity without all the extra work?
  • Boundaries being breached. This could result in branches scraping against walls or windows which can cause damage to your home, or provide paths for squirrels and rodents to jump from trees onto your home. Canopies of trees getting tangled in power lines.
  • Competition to other trees or plants in your landscape. You wouldn’t want the other trees in your landscape to begin to get choked out as your new tree grow to maturity. Nor would you want to find your sunny vegetable garden to eventually become engulfed in shade from the canopy of your tree.

We are just saying, be aware of the growth habits and needs of your trees and mindful of the surroundings in your landscape. Unless you don’t care if your tree grows right through your house, it’s super important to do your research. This will help you successfully pick out the right tree specimen.

Oops! Too close!

Getting Trees Home Safely from the Rainbow Gardens

Once you’ve researched and chosen the variety of tree that will be perfect for your landscape, treat it with love from the start of your purchase. DO NOT use the trunk of the tree as a handle when transporting it to the register, truck and at home; doing so could damage your tree before you even leave the nursery.


Another thing to avoid is throwing your tree into the back of your truck and not wrapping it securely to protect the leaves from highway winds. Make sure it’s covered and secured, as wind can cause damage even at slow speeds. You just can’t drive slow enough to prevent leaf burn, or leaf loss. Who wants to arrive home only to unload a leafless ‘Charlie Brown’ tree when you left the nursery with a lush shade specimen? Don’t do what this poor sap did below!

Tree in the back of a truck.

Correctly Planting Trees Once Home

Once home, follow the correct planting procedures for trees. These include: digging the hole twice as wide as the rootball but only as deep as rootball and setting the tree to where the rootball is at soil level or slightly higher, and making sure trunk is perpendicular to the ground and that the tree is set level and straight. See full instructions here.

Watering Trees

Watering is key to getting the tree established, it can take trees 2 years to fully get their roots established. While young, newly planted trees will need more frequent watering at the beginning of their lives, in general, slow, deeper, longer, but more infrequent watering will be better after the first few months. This will encourage trees to adjust to becoming more reliant on natural rainfall as opposed to you and your hose. Confused yet? We get it.


Watering correctly is learned skill there really isn’t an official guide that we can offer. This link may help more.

Applying mulch around young trees is beneficial to conserving soil moisture, but avoid piling it up against the trunk, as this can cause damage and rot. Instead, spread the mulch in a wide circle around the tree (to the dripline). Make a ‘donut’, not a ‘volcano’.

Applying mulch properly is crucial when planting new trees.

Lastly, a reminder that when planting in spring, the early the better is the rule when it comes to planting both trees AND shrubs. We REALLY need to get the roots of trees and shrubs growing and settling into the soil while them temps are mild so that they can be better able to withstand and survive their first San Antonio summer. If you are looking to plant trees and shrubs this spring, get a move on.


We hope this blog has given you some helpful tips to think about if trees are on your wishlist this spring. With proper care, your new tree can thrive and bring you joy for years to come.

The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy