Watering trees not always as simple as it seems!

Watering a tree sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? But trees, particularly new, young trees, can suffer irreparable damage when they are subjected to incorrect or insufficient watering. Here is a question from a reader about that very subject, as well as some ideas about removing the pesky stumps of a holly bush!
QUESTION: "I had planted two new trees in April, a redbud and an apple serviceberry. Neither came with any instructions about watering. The redbud has a circumference of 5 inches and the serviceberry 5 1/2 inches. Please give me an idea of how much and often to water them.
"Also, are new trees not to be fertilized for a couple years? Should I be doing root stimulator applications on them both and for how long? While on trees topic when is the best time to have Bradford trees pruned?" - a reader
ANSWER: The best rule of thumb for new trees is to make sure the root ball is moist until the tree or shrub grows through the first season. To do this you can purchase a product from a company called Jobe. They manufacture a tree spike that attaches to a regular garden hose. Directions come with the spike.
If you cannot find this product, take a 1 to 2 inch PVC pipe and hammer into the root ball but at the farthest point from the trunk of the tree. Be careful not to hammer into any large root of the new tree. Make sure the root ball is damp at least once a week during the first season.
A lot of folks think by watering the top of the ground that the roots of the tree are getting watered and that is simply not the case. To prove it to yourself, water the ground for a few minutes then dig down to see how far the water has traveled. You will be amazed at how short a distance the water has penetrated.
You can treat your new trees with a fertilizer that stimulates root growth. Ask for it at your local garden center.
The best time to trim trees is when they are dormant: late fall when they drop their leaves or early spring before the leaves appear.
QUESTION: "We recently removed some (old) holly bushes from the front of our house. My husband chain sawed them down. Well, now I have about 3" of stump remaining from the ground and I keep getting new holly growth all over. I have to keep clipping to control. We put a poison into the stumps (after drilling holes) but they are still there. I want to till up the whole area in front of house and replant some shrubs or flowers. How can I make sure I kill the root, stump and any other new growth?"- Ginnie Mercer
ANSWER: I know there are several products out there that you can purchase from your local garden store. However, in order for you to do this quickly you may have to dig them out. Since they are a three inch caliper you will have to back away from the stump about two feet with a spade and start digging. You use a spade to cut the roots all the way around the trunk then dig down and lift up. This is the fastest way to accomplish your task. It will take quite a while for poisons to kill and rot the stump enough to till the ground.
After that Q and A appeared in a recent edition of my weekly e-mailed newsletter, I received the following comment from a reader:
COMMENT: "About those stumps from the hollies, I have a suggestion that might help until it's warm enough to dig those stumps out... She can pour a big bag of high nitrogen fertilizer over the stumps and roots area, cover that with wet newspaper and then top it with plastic to keep it moist. As you know, this will help rot and "soften" the stumps and roots for easier digging in spring." - Teri
ANSWER: It would seem on the surface a great solution. I will post your comment on my Web site and share it with our readers. Do you have comments or suggestions to share with other readers of this column? Send your ideas to me via e-mail.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org. For resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org
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Watering a tree sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? But trees, particularly new, young trees, can suffer irreparable damage when they are subjected to incorrect or insufficient watering. Here is a question from a reader about that very subject, as well as some ideas about removing the pesky stumps of a holly bush!
QUESTION: "I had planted two new trees in April, a redbud and an apple serviceberry. Neither came with any instructions about watering. The redbud has a circumference of 5 inches and the serviceberry 5 1/2 inches. Please give me an idea of how much and often to water them.
"Also, are new trees not to be fertilized for a couple years? Should I be doing root stimulator applications on them both and for how long? While on trees topic when is the best time to have Bradford trees pruned?" - a reader
ANSWER: The best rule of thumb for new trees is to make sure the root ball is moist until the tree or shrub grows through the first season. To do this you can purchase a product from a company called Jobe. They manufacture a tree spike that attaches to a regular garden hose. Directions come with the spike.
If you cannot find this product, take a 1 to 2 inch PVC pipe and hammer into the root ball but at the farthest point from the trunk of the tree. Be careful not to hammer into any large root of the new tree. Make sure the root ball is damp at least once a week during the first season.
A lot of folks think by watering the top of the ground that the roots of the tree are getting watered and that is simply not the case. To prove it to yourself, water the ground for a few minutes then dig down to see how far the water has traveled. You will be amazed at how short a distance the water has penetrated.
You can treat your new trees with a fertilizer that stimulates root growth. Ask for it at your local garden center.
The best time to trim trees is when they are dormant: late fall when they drop their leaves or early spring before the leaves appear.
QUESTION: "We recently removed some (old) holly bushes from the front of our house. My husband chain sawed them down. Well, now I have about 3" of stump remaining from the ground and I keep getting new holly growth all over. I have to keep clipping to control. We put a poison into the stumps (after drilling holes) but they are still there. I want to till up the whole area in front of house and replant some shrubs or flowers. How can I make sure I kill the root, stump and any other new growth?"- Ginnie Mercer
ANSWER: I know there are several products out there that you can purchase from your local garden store. However, in order for you to do this quickly you may have to dig them out. Since they are a three inch caliper you will have to back away from the stump about two feet with a spade and start digging. You use a spade to cut the roots all the way around the trunk then dig down and lift up. This is the fastest way to accomplish your task. It will take quite a while for poisons to kill and rot the stump enough to till the ground.
After that Q and A appeared in a recent edition of my weekly e-mailed newsletter, I received the following comment from a reader:
COMMENT: "About those stumps from the hollies, I have a suggestion that might help until it's warm enough to dig those stumps out... She can pour a big bag of high nitrogen fertilizer over the stumps and roots area, cover that with wet newspaper and then top it with plastic to keep it moist. As you know, this will help rot and "soften" the stumps and roots for easier digging in spring." - Teri
ANSWER: It would seem on the surface a great solution. I will post your comment on my Web site and share it with our readers. Do you have comments or suggestions to share with other readers of this column? Send your ideas to me via e-mail.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org. For resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org
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"Earl@Greenwood" wrote:

This will depend on what kind of climate zone you are in. They should be treated as any new tree for your area. Adding to this is what kind of soil are they planted in, and if you have a layer of mulch of the base of the trees to slow down evaporation. Generally, I would say do not either let the roots dry out or sit in water. Be generous with water on the initail planting.

For the most part, that is true, but this will vary with the kind of soil they are going into.

I don't think you need to worry about this. However, don't be in a big hurry to pick fruit the first year (or possibly longer), so that the young trees will put more of their energy into growing strong root structures.
Remove that early fruit as soon as possible.

Late Winter into early Spring (True for most fruit trees).

I have not had good success with those fertilizer spikes.

True.

Just noticed this is a SNEAKY commercial. I will continue posting my comments as I don't agree totally with some of the answers. For this underhanded posting, I would not recommend you to any gardener. Please take your advertising elsewheres.
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