Lately, we have been getting a lot of phone calls from customers complaining about the health of their newly planted trees. Upon further discussion we are finding that many customers have not been watering this spring. Certainly, we have had some cooler weather and in April we got more rain than we thought we needed. However, we have to remember that trees which were planted last year or this spring, do not have an established root system, they only have access to the water which falls directly onto their root balls. Particularly, when a tree is planted in the lawn, it needs even more water (no, your irrigation system is not sufficient), because it is competing with your turf for moisture.
So, you wonder, how do we diagnose that your tree is not getting enough water? We ask lots of questions! The first indicator that your tree needs more water is often yellow leaves or some fall color. Early fall color, in particular, tells you that your tree is in desperate need of help. We can also diagnose lack of water by brown crunchy leaves which are falling off the tree, bending of the new growth, etc. If you think your tree might be dry, give it water, then call us. If the soil is saturated and squishy, it is not too dry.
We recommend deep, infrequent watering. Please lay a hose at the base of the tree with a trickle the size of your small finger for 30 – 45 minutes; twice a week, less if we have had more than 1” of rain, that week. Remember that your tree has its own method of communicating with you; it is telling you if it is healthy or sick. So make an effort every day to look at the tree and make sure it isn’t waving a yellow leaf at you!