It’s one thing to plant a tree and another to keep it alive during the first three years, when it’s easily defeated by competing grass and weeds. Keep a good circle of soil around the base of the young tree entirely clear of weeds, either by hoeing (but avoid damage to bark and roots), a suitable herbicide or a mulch (best of all). A simple weekly inspection means any troubles are spotted and dealt with promptly. Ideally, this regime should be perpetual, but it’s essential in the formative years, and the investment will yield handsome dividends.

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