The Q&A Archives: Using rocks, mulch and weed fabrick

Question: This is our first year doing trees and shrubs in our yard, our trees are dying, we used weed fabric, mulch around the center and rocks circle on the outside, when we dig up the dead trees the holse was full of water, what are were doing wrong, were have 108 temp. every day for 2 weeks now

Answer: How disappointing to prepare the planting area so well and then have your trees and shrubs die! If the holes are full of water it means your soil is not draining very well and you need to take that into consideration when you water. Even though the temperature is hot, landscape trees and shrubs only need about an inch of water per week. You can supply that by making a watering well or watering basin beneath each of your trees and shrubs (which it sounds as though you've already done). Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. You should need to do this only once each week. Your clay soil will hold the moisture for a long period of time so watering every 7 days should be just right for your plants. You can water as described above and then 3-4 days later check the soil moisture content by sticking a metal probe down into the soil near the roots. If the soil is moist enough the probe will be easy to push into the soil. If the soil is dry you'll feel some resistance as you push the probe into the soil. When this happens it is time to water. Best wishes with your landscape.

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