The Q&A Archives: fruit trees

Question: I planted two trees just lately, a bing cherry and an apricot. Initially the cherry tree looked to be doing OK but now it seems to be falling back and the new leaved have died. The apricot tree is just the opposite. It initially looked to be dead but now is starting to leaf out. These were both dry root trees sent to me from a nursery. Should I be doing something besides watering them. I try to water them every day - is that too much? They were planted with compost mixed into the soil. I have very sandy soil. I would like both of these trees to survive. The cherry tree was planted to help another cherry tree polinate. The first one did very well is now very well established but it does not produce much fruit. I am hoping that the other cherry tree will improve that.

Answer: Fruit trees can take several months to become established and the only thing you need to do is to water them deeply once a week (twice if the weather is really hot). Daily watering is too much, even for sandy soil. When you water that often you run the risk of depleting the soil of oxygen - something the roots of your trees need. So, if you haven't already, make a watering well or basin beneath your new trees by mounding up a few inches of soil in a circle about 12" in diameter. When you water, fill the basin, allow it to drain, then fill it a second time. This will concentrate the moisture over the rootmass and allow it to trickle down, wetting the rootmass. You can water this way, then wait 3-4 days and dig down into the soil. If it is still moist 1-2" below the surface, you won't need to water for a few days. If it is dry, it's time to water.

By next spring both your trees should be fully established and should leave out without problem.

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