I planted an Apollo Sugar Maple in St. Paul, MN about 4 weeks ago. There used to be a Black Walnut exactly where I planted it. To combat the juglone, I completely dug the roots out and hauled away about 4.5 yards of dirt (10' diameter hole and about 2' deep) and brought in 5 yards of fresh top soil from Gertens. I lightly teased the roots, used root growth, and have been watering regularly.
When I planted the tree, it was dormant with no green visible. You can see the leaves (attached picture) have come out nicely which has given me a lot of hope. However they are very droopy, which is making me nervous. Am I over watering it (I lightly water twice a day for the grass seed's sake)? Did I not go deep enough to replace the dirt (I completely dug underneath the Black Walnut stump so there were no roots left below)? Am I just overly nervous and it's doing fine?
Any help and guidance would be greatly appreciated! Even if that's redirecting me to a more appropriate resource. I've done a fair amount of web digging with no luck. I'm much more likely to drop a big tree and cut and split it for firewood with fair efficiency so this planting-a-new-one is new business to me...
It is likely due to water, but hard to tell whether its too much or too little at this point. A little more info about how much water the tree has received might be needed. Does the tree receive the same amount of water as the grass seed twice a day?
Are the leaves always droopy? A new transplant will become droopy when the air temperature is really warm. I think this has something to do with the rate of transpiration from the tree above ground in relationship to the size of root system below. Transplants sometimes don't have enough root system ratio to support the top growth and show stress in direct sun or hot weather. The plant often recovers when the temp changes. As the plant grows it will be more able to adapt to such fluctuations.
The general rule of thumb is to give a new tree a good soak about once a week through the first year (1 inch of water or 5 gal). But this quantity and frequency will depend on the weather and soil type. I do think it is important that the soil, especially at the surface dries out just a little. The soil needs air too.
This is just a guess based on what I know from my experiences. I hope it helps you find an answer.
posted 5 years ago
Thanks Becky! It's actually been rather cold here. We had a two week stretch with the lows in the 30's. I moved the mulch and dug down about a foot and the soil is is very dark and lightly moist. I water the grass twice-a-day lightly, i.e. maybe 5 minutes at a time. I now doubt that it's a dehydration issue so I'll back off on the watering and hope the upcoming warmer weather will help.
Side note - when I first purchased it, the lady at Gertens told me to water once day. But when I stopped in yesterday with my concern, they mirrored your comment about watering thoroughly once a week by letting the hose run for 20-30 minutes.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit