Fan Tex Ash Tree -- Second Opinions

papawheelieJuly 2, 2011

Hello all. Happy Independence Day weekend!

First post. Hoping I'm doing this right. I've searched the web, this site, and visited my local nursery, but still have a couple questions. Hoping for some knowledge-sharing...

I have a small yard with a single Fan Tex Ash tree in the middle. My local nursery helped me pick it out and they planted it last October (2010). I like the tree and has matured noticeably since it was planted 9 months ago (went dormant for a couple months during Winter).

I'm deep-watering it once per week (each Saturday or Sunday) with a hose. No watering system yet. I allow the water to trickle, at about 15-20 gallons per hour, for 5-6 hours. So, I'm giving it about 100 gallons once per week.

It's Summer in the Phoenix, AZ area, so it's very hot and dry right now.

Here are my questions/concerns:

1) My nursery has told me that I do not need to fertilize the tree because it gets everything it needs out of the ground. Everyone agree?

2) My nursery (stopped by today) has suggested that I water the tree twice per week during the Summer (instead of once), and not quite as deep/long as I am doing. So water more often, with less water. Everyone agree?

3) The leaves got cut up pretty badly this Spring. See pics below of round pieces cut out of the edges of the leaves. From my research, I'm pretty sure this is the work of leaf-cutter bees, and that I should just let the bees do their thing. I understand that the tree is not really harmed by this, and that we need to be good to the bees. Does everyone agree that my leaves are being hit by leaf-cutter bees?

4) Finally, and most concerning at the moment, is that large brown crispy spots have begun appearing on leaves just in the past 5 days. Pics below. I estimate that only 5-10% of the leaves have these large brown spots, but the number seems to be increasing each day. I took a sample to my nursery this morning, and was told that it is some type of insect (I don't remember what type), and that I shouldn't worry too much about it. I noticed that some of their Fan Tex Ash trees had identical-looking brown spots.

Sorry for the long post. Hoping for some help with my questions. Thanks a lot everyone.


My Fan Tex Ash:

From MiscellaneousJul2011 From MiscellaneousJul2011

Large brown spots on leaves:

From MiscellaneousJul2011 From MiscellaneousJul2011

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Well, I bought a Fan Tex Ash too about last April and the first summer, it looked like this, but this year, it looks much healthier. I don't know what I was doing wrong either last year, or right this year. I did put coffee grounds and compost around it this year. I'm watering about once a week deeply, but then not deeply about every day. The only reason I'm watering not deeply every day is that the drip system is on the same drip as some other vegetables. Ideally, I heard that's not good, but the cost of installing a separate drip is not something I have money for right now.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Looks like sunburn to me. If it was chevron and at the tips, it would be lack of deep watering. Figure it's hot and ash trees aren't native plants so they're going to suffer some in our arid climate. You also appear to have a block wall and a gravelscape so I'm guessing your yard stays pretty hot even after the sun goes down.

Mulching that berm with a forest by-product (not rock) will help reduce the soil cracks, weeds and heat.

I do have a Fan-Tex ash and an Arizona ash. Fan-Tex was recommended by Baker's Nursery and while it doesn't get enough water, IMO, it is an attractive tree. The Arizona ash (and Silk Oak and pine) was popular in my neighborhood when it was built in the late 70's and they drop branches during windstorms but always seem to recover.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:24PM
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Hi. Thanks for the replies. Happy 4th.

moroesaz, thank you for confirming my original suspicions. I thought it looked like sun burn, or not getting enough water. I didn't want to disagree with the professionals at the nursery though. haha. I've noticed that it's not affecting as many leaves as I originally said -- definitely less than 5%. I've also noticed that these brown spots mostly appear on West-facing surfaces, which might make sense with the hottest afternoon sun.

And yes, it's a small yard with block walls, gravel, and not much else right now. It is on the North side of a 2-story house though, so it could be worse. The tree does get full sun all day though. I plan to do some patio-scaping and plant some more stuff in the next year, with my little Ash tree as the center. Hoping it will grow into a nice canopy-tree in the next couple years.

I will dress the soil surface with some mulch and I will try watering twice per week for awhile to get it through the next couple months of heat.

Thanks again, guys/gals.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Hi Duane,

Awesome photos! I just wanted to add my two cents to the great comments above.

1) Congratulations for removing the original nursery stake that was tied to the trunk of your tree! (I'm assuming there was one). Most people don't know that it's best to remove it and, if necessary, use two wooden stakes placed outside the rootball to stabilize their tree. BTW, what is that slender pole/rod near your tree's basin??

2) The best time to fertilize is in February/March so when the trees come out of dormancy there will be nutrients available. You can use an all-purpose fertilizer or something like ammonium sulfate. Follow package directions for your size tree and broadcast over the soil surface and water in well.

3) You may find that after you mulch your watering basin (taking care not to pile it against the trunk of your tree) that watering once per week in summer is adequate. To test, gently pull some mulch back and if the soil is moist underneath you can wait a day or so before applying more water. It's always better to water deeply but infrequently in our heavy clay soils.

4) Yes, leafcutter bees make those semi-circular or nearly circular 'holes'. They like the tender new leaves best and use the pieces to line their galleries where they raise their young.

Best of luck with your tree.

(certified arborist)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:59AM
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