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 Post subject: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 10:08 am 
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I'm a north Texas Denton resident. On April 28th, at Denton's Red Bud Festival, I earned myself a free 3 gallon Red Oak tree which I planted in the backyard. It is a new construction home, built in 2014, so the grade of the yard is set for plenty of drainage. I didn't do a perk test before planting, we chose it's spot due out of functionality since I felt the yard grade would be suited for plating anywhere. I did do a no no when I planted it, I mixed in some green sand, lava sand, and corn gluten meal in with the back fill and the soil I dug out beneath it. It is planted an inch-couple above the yard grade, with its flare exposed.

Last Wednesday I noticed the top leaves of the tree looking wilted and grayed, and the soil rather wet from the weekly+ rain we have been getting. At this point, I gave the leaves, trunk and (more water i know) the roots some garrett juice, and the week before I had spread out garlic powder. Yesterday, before the storm came through, I noticed those leaved on top that had wilted, turned more towards a brown color and I was finding some that had fallen off throughout the yard.

I'm assuming it is pretty much a waiting game and hoping for the best now.Doug Sheldon gave me some helpful advice/info, but does anyone else have any experience or treatment plans? Would digging out around the root ball and letting air in there cause more harm than good? Would removing it from the hole to dry be an more extreme/beneficial option? Maybe just a small trench coming out from the tree, but away from the root ball, going downhill to encourage drainage? Didn't take any pictures, but the trunk is still green, leaves from my experience (maybe not by my description) show evidence of drowning though.


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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 5:44 pm 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Did you spread out the roots when you planted it, or is the root still in a container-shaped ball?

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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:18 am 
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yes. The root ball was removed from the container and loosened up before putting it in the ground. I waited through that weekend, then last week we had multiple thunderstorms so I took action to see if I could save it. I dug a 4 foot x 1 foot pit next to its hole it was in. A good amount of water and mud rushed out into the pit when I broke the ground between them. Smelled very similar to pond mud, so it was not in a good environment at all. I'm assuming the aeration in the clay from planting the tree created a bit of a "container" that held water instead of it draining off the top like the rest of the lawn.

The pit is still full of water, I siphoned out as much as gravity would let me after the rains passed. Hopefully this weeks expected 6 days of sun will help it out. It's leaves have since gone all brown, but theyre still pliable. The trunk and stems are still green so I'm hoping there is still some fight left. If not we'll try again this fall and I'll fill my pit with gravel so the replacement will have a drain.


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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:49 am 
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It sounds like that soil isn't working with you. Good luck in finding a way to position a tree so it's above the standing water, if you can, or find a better drained part of the yard and start over.

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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:05 am 
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thanks. Yeah its a heavy, dark clay. The pit that I had dug actually drained pretty well, once the rain stopped. It dropped about a 1' per day. I'm pretty certain the tree is long gone now. Too little too late, but I'll update if it comes back around. I suppose Red Oak wouldn't be the best option for a replacement. :( wish I had recognized the soil had a problem with water retention, that was a beautiful tree


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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:24 am 
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Baldcypress can tolerate water, but is also good in "normal" soil and even in xeriscape conditions.

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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:36 am 
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thanks for the tip. Actually the entire neighborhood had bald cypress trees planted by the developer, but every one of them died last summer from the lack of rain I would assume. I'm also assuming the new home owners didnt bother to keep them watered. I actually have a paperbark Elm tree out front that is surging in growth every season, so it loves the soil condition. I may go with something similar should this thing not make it.

I heavily aerated the root ball with a 1/8"x12" rod a few weeks ago and used the hydrogen-peroxide drench as well. I noticed yesterday some green has returned to the trunk flare. I may be a necromancer and returned this thing from the dead :twisted: fingers crossed


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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:33 am 
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so only about a foot from the flare had green return to the tree so by now I think its safe to assume the rest of the plant has died. The rest of the wood is crinkled and dried like the french fry I dropped under my car seat 5 years ago. Now the man himself mentioned this Sunday that summer time is fine to transplant trees from a container, since the container would be more stressful in the first place, so I think I'll go ahead and find a replacement.

Thanks for the help and hints. I dont know if it would come back if i chopped it back to the green, that sounds pretty dramatic for something thats already shot. No need in losing the 3 years of advanced growth I could get from a plant at a nursery so replacement it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:24 pm 
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Yes, I heard that remark also. When you plant a tree from the container keep in mind:

The roots may be wrapped around inside the pot, and the soil itself may be hard and impermeable. So remove it from the pot, give it a good soak it in a bucket with water and Garrett Juice added, until the root ball softens and you can straighten out roots from it.

Dig a shallow but wide hole so the tree will be sitting a little high - you don't want to bury the root flare. You could even use wooden stakes to help stretch out and hold the roots in position then put the native soil back over the roots in the hole. Don't fill it full of fancy compost and imported soil, you want the tree adapting to the native soil as quickly as possible. You don't need to stake a tree upright, generally.

Years ago I had a bald cypress that was planted in the summer and died - and it was when I didn't know what I was doing and went through none of those steps. It was like putting the pot in the soil, the tree never managed to put out roots and it never absorbed water very well. Two others planted that same summer needed a lot of work, with digging down to uncover the flare, removing girdling roots, etc. Your contractor may have simply plopped all of those trees into holes with no adequate preparation.

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 Post subject: Re: Over watered Red Oak
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:23 pm 
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northwesterner wrote:
Yes, I heard that remark also. When you plant a tree from the container keep in mind:

The roots may be wrapped around inside the pot, and the soil itself may be hard and impermeable. So remove it from the pot, give it a good soak it in a bucket with water and Garrett Juice added, until the root ball softens and you can straighten out roots from it.


Thanks for that tip! Ive always just used pressure, from knees, feet, whatever to break it up roughly, the my fingers and in extreme cases a pocket knife to get the root ball loosened. I should try working smart sometime lol.


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