Newly planted red cedars turning brown

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by westcoastcandy, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. westcoastcandy

    westcoastcandy Member

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    We are very new to gardening and have just recently (approx 3 weeks ago) planted 12, 7-8 foot red cedars in our back yard. We were told to basically "soak" them for approx 20 min. every few days over the next few months until they established which we have been doing faithfully. In the last week or so, some of the leaves have been turning brown, then yellow and dry and can be easily broken off. I am wondering if this is normal as the roots establish themsleves or if we are doing something wrong with the watering. With doing a bit of reasearch I understand that watering deeply into the root ball less often may be better but unsure how to do this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Did these arrive with adequately sized, intact soil balls, which were moist at the time and have been kept moist since? Or might they have gotten dried out before being received, or be having a problem with root loss due to having been dug and delivered with too small or otherwise unacceptable rootballs?

    Much dead foliage, if all over the outsides of the trees is not a good sign.

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda chalker-scott/FactSheets/Planting fact sheet.pdf
     
  3. westcoastcandy

    westcoastcandy Member

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    Yes, when we received them they were very healthy with good sized root balls and were kept moist prior to planting. There isn't a lot of dead foliage but enough, that being new at this, that we were wondering if we are doing something wrong. If we need to water deeply, i am wondering if there is some kind af apparatice that can be used to water down where the rootball is.
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    When you planted the trees, did you dig a nice wide, and extra deep hole trying to be helpful to your trees, or did you dig a hole just large enough into which the root ball would fit? DEPENDING upon the how good the drainage of the soil that these trees were planted into, a hole that is much larger than the tree's root ball unfortunately creates a "lake", in which the tree's root system is setting in. The roots of all trees require ample soil oxygen in order to function, root zone oxygen is required even for the root system to absorb water. If indeed you have created a lake, that you are constantly refilling, the water is displacing all of the oxygen that would have been available and needed by the trees. Without adequate soil aeration, a tree will either have a very hard time, or even die if the striation becomes bad enough. - Millet (1,326-)
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You MAY get the "bathtub effect" where the backfill soil is coarser than the soil around the hole.

    One of the main reasons to fill planting holes with the same soil that came out of them, without modification.

    The deep watering/soak and then allow to dry out thing is wrong. You want to keep the roots moist, not flood them and then let them become parched, over and over.

    Established plants make networks of feeder roots near the soil surface, where they can take advantage of more natural frequent light waterings. Here on the Pacific Slope especially entire forests of giant trees exist because fog drip and occasional light summer showers are enough to get them by.

    While yours have their roots mostly inside or near the original soil balls you will want to concentrate on keeping that area constantly moist (but not wet). Poke around inside them a bit to see how they are doing.
     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The "bath tub effect is greater the larger the hole (to a point) and the poorer the drainage of the local soil, especially when there is a shallow hard pan present. - Millet (`.326-)
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've never seen the size of the non-draining hole being given any particular importance before and cannot see how it would be significant. If the plant ends up sitting in a mire, it does not matter if it is 6" wider than the rootball or 6'. The critical factor is that the plant is being drowned. Big enough to hold water around it is big enough to be a problem. The water table will not go higher because the hole is wider.
     
  8. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron, commonly, many people thinking they are helping a new planting, normally dig an extra large hole thinking that they are making a lot of room for the tree's roots system to grow. Then to make matters worse, they often will add peat moss or other artificial medium to "help" the tree to prosper. In doing this, most people tend to dig the hole much wider then 6 inches. Anyway, we have beat this thread to death, and I do not intend to revisit this thread again. Have a good day. - Millet (1,326-)
     
  9. westcoastcandy

    westcoastcandy Member

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    Thanks for all your advice - very helpful. We will dig around in them tonight and go from there.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: amending of the backfill is the problem, not the increased size of the hole. In fact, if enlarging the hole to the point of making it a bed is done that may instead produce a successful result:

    Use no soil amendments except in very specific conditions of raised or amended beds for plants with very limited root systems. If the existing soil is very poor, remove and replace with good field soil or place at least six inches of good field soil on the surface. However, you should match soil types as backfilling with a good sandy loam in a heavy clay will serve as a collection point for water and the roots will suffocate. Soil amendments in a small planting hole do not assist plant establishment and growth. It is better to use the amendments as a mulch. The only exception is where the entire plant root zone for many years can be amended

    --C.E. Whitcomb, Establishment and Maintenance of Landscape Plants (1987 (1991), Lacebark Inc., Stillwater)
     

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