Help me save my trees!

manoactionAugust 14, 2012

First post and a I'm a brand new plant owner...

I planted a dozen trees from Stark Bros this last March and I have nothing but good things to say about the company so far.

My current crisis is that three of my apple trees are starting to look terrible lately.

I think it's got something to do with the watering, but I don't know if it's too much or too little.

I was watering twice a week with about a 4 gallons each time bubbled into their basin. My soil is pretty dense clay so I didn't want to overwater, but the leaves are curling and starting to turn crispy.

The only difference that I can see between the affected trees and the unaffected is that... the affected trees are on the eastern side and they spend more time in the sun.

The affected trees are also all apples while my more healthy trees are cherries, plums, and pears, but that doesn't seem like it's relevant.

It looks like they are drying out, but I was told not to give them more than a few gallons per week.

Please help me obi wan gardenwebobi, you're my only hope.

Sorry for the crummy cell phone pic.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

manoaction:

That's probably not enough water. If possible put a basin around the tree and fill it with water once a week. If you can't do that make sure the area around the tree is soaked really well once a week by another means. Your trees should look better in a few weeks.

It's hard to over water if you only water once a week. But it's easy to under water the first year.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:25PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

>I think it's got something to do with the watering, but I don't know if it's too
>much or too little.

The only way to be sure is to dig in and have a look. Just make a narrow hole several inches deep with a garden trowel.

How did you prepare the planting hole?

Alex

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:48PM
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manoaction

I dug the holes in a 2 1/2 ft diameter circle about 1 1/2 feet down. Then filled with a mix of compost, top soil, and dead leaves.

I already have a basin around them, but I'm worried that the soaking has caused channeling that is allowing the water to race to bottom and absorb underneath roots rather than around them.

When I've dug up the soil previously it's not crispy dry but not really wet either. I suppose it's a bit of a judgement call, but I'd say it's probably on the dry side.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:42PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

It needs to be soaking wet once a week. The amount you are applying is way less than I'd apply. If a real soaking once a week drowns your trees then the site isn't suitable for fruit trees. Or is only suitable if planted on raised beds.

New trees can't compete with weeds, grass, or big trees nearby. So they need more water the first year than would seem necessary.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:53PM
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manoaction

Sorry for raising this thread from the dead, but I just wanted to say thanks. I upped the watering to four gallons every other day (about 14 gallons a week), and the trees have made a great come back. They look a lot better and have started growing vigorously again.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 4:32PM
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campv

To help with your consern about the watering, get a piece of rebar about 4 feet long bend the end to make a handle and insert it into the ground at the drip line of the tree about 3 ft. If it goes in nicely you have done a great job of watering if not then mo water mo water.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:03PM
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