Transplanted Oak tree; leaves still brown

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  #1  
Old 07-11-08, 08:40 AM
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Transplanted Oak tree; leaves still brown

I had a Oak tree planted in front of my house 4-6 weeks ago. It was through the city's tree program (I actually in the city).
The tree's leaves look terrible. I orginally did water, but apparently not enough from what I was told later. I am doing so now (every few days I let the hose trickle at the base of the tree for a few hours), but the tree doesn't look any different. The edges of the leaves are brown. Some branches don't have leaves on at all.

The tree was planted late in the season (beginning of June) which was part of the problem I was also told. When planted, it was estimated it was around 5 years old. It went where another tree use to be (around 7 years old) that got destroyed by a early, heavy snow 2 1/2 years ago.

Would some type of 'food' help?
Any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-11-08, 09:21 AM
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Hi Bruce,

Leaves are expendable to a tree or shrub and they will shed them in times of stress. Once a leaf, or part of a leaf, turns brown it won't turn green again. The roots, trunk and branches are what's important now. Once the tree has recovered from the stress it may put out new leaves this year, but may not until next spring. Generally the temps will need to be below 85*F for that to happen. Here's some info on tree roots, how to mulch and water.
Tree root and growth info.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG089
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/WO017
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/02926.html
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/trees_turf.aspx

Water:
http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1298/

Mulch:
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

Newt
 
  #3  
Old 07-11-08, 09:21 AM
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New transplants are not fertilized for at least a year. Too much water or too little water will result in death of new tree. Excessive watering can cause root rot. Frequent shallow waterings do not encourage root growth. Deep watering once a week is recommended.
 
  #4  
Old 07-11-08, 09:24 AM
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I forgot to mention not to fertilize, but I'm glad Twelvepole did.

Newt
 
  #5  
Old 07-11-08, 10:46 AM
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I let the water run only at a trickle. There is no overflow to the sidewwalk or street. It may be at most 4 hours at this rate.
Again, there is no overflow around the base of the tree. Is that about right?

Thanks for all those links.
 
  #6  
Old 07-11-08, 12:09 PM
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Five gallons of water will saturate about five cubic foot of the average soil type, which is about the size of the tree well of most newly planted trees. Five gallons once per week is adequate in lieu of a good soaking rain. One way to be sure that the tree is getting five gallons is to fill a five gallon bucket that you have made two or three small holes in the bottom and let the water trickle at the base of the tree. Soaker hose and slow drip watering methods may soak the surface only, promoting root growth near the surface because roots will tend to stay near the surface in order to get water. As indicated, mulch helps conserve moisture. Keep mulch away from bark on tree.
 
  #7  
Old 07-13-08, 07:38 AM
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Orginally, the mulch was up to the trunk as I see with most other new plantings around the city (and suburbs).
I moved it away making a 'damn' for water which I used for a trickle of water from the hose.
I now see that that isn't recomendated (interesting reads) since it will rot the roots next to the trunk. I have done this for the past 2 or 3 weeks on and off.

Did I harm the tree?
 
  #8  
Old 07-13-08, 08:59 AM
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It is recommended that mulch not touch the bark on tree because this can result in decay of the bark. Pull mulch back 2 or 3 inches from trunk. Mulch should not be mounded around base of trees like you see in cityscapes and suburbs, where it looks like the mound builders took up landscaping as a hobby. Mulch can be spread to form a saucer that will direct moisture to the roots at base of tree.

Too little water and too much water can present the same symptoms. Watering every few days for several hours may have drowned the roots.

You can wait until spring to see if the tree recuperates. Without leaves, the tree will not be able to manufacture food for roots to survive the winter. Keep an eye on branches to see if there are any signs of growth on branches. Bend a small twig. If it snaps rather than bends and looks dried out, then it is dead. If branches are bendable, then tree is not completely dead. Another test is to scrape off some bark on a branch. If it is green beneath bark, branch is not dead. If brown, the branch is dead. Dead branches can be pruned out. Depending on number of dead branches, the tree may end up unsightly. Then, it would be best to replace the tree.

You did say that you 'had' the tree planted. Many nurseries offer replacement within one year. Check with your nursery.
 
  #9  
Old 07-13-08, 09:43 AM
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It was a freebie through the city.
 
  #10  
Old 07-13-08, 09:45 AM
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Tree may have already been stressed or roots damaged and was predisposed to not succeed. It is best to deal with a reputable nursery for landscape plants.
 
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