4. Drainage

Water logging of newly planted trees is a big killer. This can be caused by poorly draining soils, and or simply by over watering. One of the simplest ways to determine poorly drained soils is to half fill the hole with water, if the water remains in the bottom of the hole and has not drained away after an hour or two, drainage may be a problem. If your area has been experiencing dry weather this should be done a couple of times to get a more accurate indication.

Good drainage from the bottom of the hole is very important for root regeneration and root penetration into the surrounding soil. The bottom half of the root ball and the back fill can be water logged during wet periods, or by over irrigating, even though this period of saturation may be for a short time only, it can still cause the death of tree roots. Water can drain into three holes from surrounding landscape and excessive watering of lawns can cause a build up of water, this not only happens in wet periods but even during severe droughts.

Trying to establish lawns and new trees at the same time should be avoided at all costs.

You should do one at a time, either establish the lawn first then the tree, or vise versa. When trying to do both at once all you are doing is slowing killing the tree or retarding its reestablishment. Because of the large amounts of water required to establish a lawn, a large percentage of the water finds its way into a newly dug tree hole, causing saturation of the root ball and surrounding soil.

Solving drainage problems may be expensive, but it is essential for good plant performance and must be corrected before planting.

Improving drainage can be difficult at times and sometimes maybe cheaper to improve the drainage on the whole site rather than drain individual holes than plating large numbers.

One simple approach is to plant the tree with about 1/3 of the root ball above the ground level and then build a mound from the top of the root ball to the original ground level. A draw back of this method and something you must be mind full off, is the top 1/3 of the root ball and the mound may dry out quickly in hot, dry conditions so a top up of mulch and more frequent watering may be required.