new tree

Hey, everyone. I live in SE NC and I bought a double grafted dwarf pink double bloom cherry tree the first of May. Planted it in good drianing soil( a little clay/sand on the top1-2" and good dark soil underneath) where it got full sun in the AM & early PM and shade after 3pm (which the nursery keeper stated was fine) and keeping it watered every day. All things going good for a month (to the first of June) and then we had about a week of rain, off and on, so I did not water it for 5 days, as there was rain at least 2 hours everyday. Three days after the rain subsided and decided to move northward, my trees' leaves started to "curl" not tip to stem, but side to side and looked a little 'puney'. I had already started to watering it again for two days. The NEXT day the leaves turned yellow, but not on the tip of the branches, but near where the branches stemmed from the tree to about half way down the branches. Again, the very next day the yellow leaves started falling off. This is no exaggeration as it happened over a three day pass that these events too place. The tree still has green leaves on the end of the branches but is 'naked' from the trunk to the middle of the branches where the greenery begins. Any suggestions? Too much water? Not enough? Needs something extra? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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We water 2 gallons twice per week - rain or no rain.
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Your description fits that of a tree that's been drowned in too much water, which killed off many of the newest, fragile roots and made it difficult to take up nutrients. When you first planted the tree it needed to be kept from drying out completely, but once it was established, (by about June1) it probably only needed about 3/4" of water 2-3 times a week. To help keep moisture at an acceptable level, you also need about 2-3" of good mulch over the rootball, but not touching the tree trunk.
As a check, with a small trowel or even a long screwdriver, poke around the base of the tree. The surface may be dry, but you want to know about the water level down at the root level. You'll probably find that the soil is rather soggy, especially if your clay content is significant. Let the underground rootball area dry out some, but not get completely dry (too dry for mud pies, but more humid than a sandbox). Then give it about 3/4" of water, either from rainfall or your irrigation system, wait for two days and repeat. Good luck --

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JimR said:

The last part of your statement is one of the best tidbits of advice I've seen in this group, yet. Too many people just mulch right on up the bark of a tree. After "topping" a tree, that's about the worst possible thing you can do to one. Hopefully, someone will heed that advice. =)
And, mulching two feet out from a trunk does no good, really. If you're going to mulch a tree, might as well go all the way out to the dripline. Most people won't do that, though. They'd have no yard left, heh.
--
Eggs

-I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy.
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