Watering Apple Trees

leinie3113(6)July 10, 2007

I bought and planted a very young red delicious apple tree this spring (2 feet tall no limbs or leaves)Miracle grow soil and a 10-13-13 fruit tree stick. For the first month everything looked great, several stems and leaves formed. In the past 2 weeks the leaves on the bottom of the tree are drying out and falling off. The tree is in my yard that gets watered for 45 minutes at 6:00 am and 45 minutes at 7:00pm every other day. I also set a hose once a week at the base of the tree and turn it on as low as it will go(steady drip) for 2 hours. I live in central Oregon that has been very hot and dry last couple weeks. A friend said im over watering, I think not deep enough. As you can tell im new to fruit trees. I also have 10 small (1 foot) flowering trees from Arbor Day getting the same treatment and all have done nothing. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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I would tend to agree with your friend that you are overwatering. Twice a day every other day is too much water, even in conditions of no rainfall. The soil around fruit trees should be allowed to dry out a little between waterings. Trees will not die from a little dryness, but they can certainly suffer from excess moisture. I don't think you have to worry about watering deeply with young trees, whose root systems are not that deep yet anyway.

Mulching around your trees with a heavy layer of wood chips, stable manure, shredded leaves, or anything else you have around would also be helpful to your trees. Mulch conserves moisture, helping to smooth out the extremes of dryness and wetness, and gradually breaks down to feed the trees. I credit much of the health of my tree to annual applications of a thick blanket of stable manure in a wide circle around the trees every winter.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 10:18PM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

definitely what jellyman sez - think of the root ball that "tree" had when you planted it just a few months ago, how is that small a root going to deal with gallons and gallons of water continually washing them down? certainly can't make use of it all, and can't take up much nutrition from saturated soil, and surely can't use water 2 feet down!

sprinkle a bit of bone meal around the tree and water it in [ocassionally], it'll help with root growth, which is what you want the first year, not top growth .... the leaves that are dying are not getting any nutrition from the roots, cuz damaged or drowned, the leaves that are still there are sending energy down to grow roots, give it a chance


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 12:21AM
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crabjoe(z7 MD)

When I planted my apple trees, I watered deep the day of planting, then I did another deep watering 5 days later. After that, I stopped watering them; except when they got water because I was watering my lawn. My trees have done great without any care on my part. I just need to prune now.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 11:49PM
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