The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Tulip Trees

Question: We recently transplanted some tulip trees from a wooded area to our new construction yard. They were about 4-5 feet tall with roots. We fertilized them, covered them in peat moss and have watered them every day. However, the leaves turned brown, fell off and now we just have sticks that are very brittle and dry. Did we do something wrong? Do you have any suggestions for trying again? Thank you!

Answer: Daily watering was probably the downfall. Wait until the weather cools a bit before trying again. Plant at the same soil level as they were growing before and water them in well. Then make a watering well around each plant by mounding up a few inches of soil. Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Do this only once a week until the fall and winter rains take over the job for you. Watering in this way will concentrate the water over the root system and allow it to percolate down and wet the entire root mass. Along with moisture, roots need oxygen and if you keep the soil too moist it will drive out the oxygen and the roots will suffocate. So, go easy on the watering and I think your next batch of trees will establish and grow well for you.

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