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Beginner Gardening Questions: Over or under watered tree?

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hage1883
Yukon, OK

August 21, 2012
7:50 AM

Post #9248781

I am responsible for taking care of trees at my office building. I know nothing about gardening so I am kind of just winging it. We have about 6 trees that were just put in a couple months ago. We are in Oklahoma, so the climate is very hot and pretty dry right now. I water the trees every morning except weekends (I water them until water seeps out of the sidewalk cracks, so they are fully soaked). 4 of the trees are doing great, but 2 of them are struggling quite a bit when they were recently thriving the most. I have attached some pictures (sorry, I don't know what kind of trees they are). Could you give me your opinion on whether I am over or under watering them?

Thumbnail by hage1883   Thumbnail by hage1883
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ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

August 21, 2012
10:47 AM

Post #9248985

Given your description, I don't think there's any way that you are underwatering them. Overwatering would be a possibility (check by sticking your finger down several inches into the soil before the next time you water--if it's still really wet then you're watering too much). But summer is a very challenging time of year to plant things so it could just be transplant shock from having to deal with the stress of transplanting combined with the stress of summer heat & sun. Sometimes summer planted plants will have a tough time and not make it even if you do everything right on the watering because it's just too stressful to get established in those challenging weather conditions. Hopefully the trees will pull through, but if they don't I'd try replacing them during the fall instead when the weather will be cooler.
nutsaboutnature
Algonquin, IL
(Zone 5a)

August 21, 2012
8:40 PM

Post #9249594

I can't tell for sure with the leaves drying out, but they look like maple leaves. There are many different Maples so I couldn't even guess as to what variety.

I agree with ecrane3 about planting trees in Summer. The best times are Spring and Autumn. All you can do is try your best to save them, but it's possible your best efforts may not be enough, especially in such a hot, dry climate.

That said, don't water every day. Water once or twice a week very slowly. The best way to water a young tree is to place a hose near the trunk and let the water trickle out for a while. Based on the size of the tree about 25 gallons of water should be enough as long as it soaks down to the deep roots...maybe 30 - 60 minutes or so. You might even want to move the hose two or three times to different spots if you have time.

With 6 trees you might choose to water them all in one day or spread it over different days depending on your available time. Also, don't fertilize new trees for the first couple of years. You want them to develop a strong root system rather than put all the growth into the leaves.

Good Luck and let us know how they do as it gets later in the year!

kwanjin

kwanjin
West Valley City, UT
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2012
9:59 PM

Post #9249641

Maples have a bad time trying to cope with OK full sun. We have the same problem here. The leaves get burnt quite easily. Do you know how the trees were planted? Did they have burlap around the roots or anyhting like that? It's possible the roots aren't even getting any water.



This message was edited Aug 28, 2012 4:09 PM
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 28, 2012
2:59 PM

Post #9257418

I have several tree's showing signs of yellowing on the leaves at the moment, they are going into shut down for autumn, the leaves wont all be down till late winter though.
I am like Kwanjin in that I would sheck around the root area to make sure that there is not any un-penatable stuff wrapped around the roots that will preven the roots growing outwards and also prevent water getting to the roots,
I always plant tree's autumn or early spring as both these times the weather is cooler and this gives the tree's time to settle into their new area before they start to suffer moisture loss etc from very hot days.
When I do plant the tree I make the hole 2 times as wide as required and the same deep, this allows room for adding manure, compost or any other humus that will help add air to the roots add nutrients and hold moisture all at the root area, as I back fill the hole, I place a couple of upturned plastic juice cartons into the hole so the as I water, I fill the cartons up several times and this makes sure the water gets to the roots and not run off onto the side walk or other areas, it also helps when your needing to add a feed to the roots too whenever needed,
I leave these containers in the soil for 3-4 years before I remove them and know the tree's have made enough growth and will be able to start surviving along with the elements like harsh winters or parched summers.

I also noticed there are green tie's around the trunk and wonder IF these may be requiring to be loosened as it becomes very easy in a short space of time for these ties to become tight and deprive the tree of taking up moisture, I've seen lovely trees being strangled just because there were no people to deal with the maintenance and growth of the tree's.
Hope this is of some help to give ideas on what to start checking for with the tree's and they soon reward you for all your care.
Best of Luck. WeeNel.

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