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Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

Posted by Daniel_Decker Texas (My Page) on
Sun, May 13, 12 at 10:50

Hi, this is my first time posting here, so keep in mind I'm a noob.

Last Saturday (5/5/12) I planted a 5" caliper, 18-20' tall Bur Oak in my back yard. It was B&B and had been out of the ground for close to a month. The root ball was 50" across and 3' deep, tapered.

It has been just over a week since I planted the tree, and now I am worried that something is wrong. The leaves are all turning brown and shriveling. We have had a crazy amount of rain since I planted it, not to mention I watered it like crazy the day that I planted it. Would this be as a result of too much water?

This is my first time planting a tree, so I really have no clue. I definitely don't want it to die, so please help.

I have posted pictures here:

If there is a way to post them here, let me know. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

Hey Daniel,
I haven't myself planted a tree that large, but I suspect that your tree is suffering from transplant shock. I am providing a link to a a Mr. Smarty Plants question and answer that may be helpful to you. Basically, it will indicate that in Texas, generally, you should plant trees in the winter, as when they are dormant they are less likely to suffer from transplant shock. It also has some tips on how you might be able to save your tree. I hope this helps, and good luck on saving it, bur oaks are magnificent trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a tree in Texas

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

Where did you acquire this tree? Surely they can give you some advice. I always thought trees of this size had to be held in burlap for a year or two to give them time to regrow their system of feeder roots.

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

Of course you're concerned about your newly planted tree, but it's probably not overwatering that is causing the leaves to drop, but transplant shock. The fine little feeder roots have been severed due to shifting of the soil around them and need time to grow back. It's good to keep the root ball moist while it does this. In the meantime a tree that size has the capability to grow another set of leaves if all those should drop. The rain is keeping the soil wet now, but when the rain lets up you'll need to keep watering during the next couple of years until a good root system developes.

Let us know how it does.

Here is a link that might be useful: Newly Planted Tree - Strategies for Survival

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

From your pictures I planted about the same size Bur in late May and it is having the exact same problem. It was doing really well, but now the leaves have holes and are turning brown. Shouldn't it be past the shock stage? My established oaks are doing fine and I want to make sure they stay that way!

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

Yes, it's past the transplant shock phase, but it still needs extra water until the roots have time to grow deep and wide and with this drought that probably won't be for two or three years. Keep doing some deep watering.

RE: Bur Oak Planting Problems (Too much water?)

I planted a smaller Bur Oak in late fall and it dropped its leaves twice the following summer. Its doing fine now. Keep the soil moist but do not overwater - something like every 5 to 7 days should be enough.

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