Two different plants, a cherry tree and now a holly planted last fall have...
Two different plants, a cherry tree and now a holly planted last fall have failed in the same location on my front lawn in Rockville, while surrounding shrubs have generally thrived. It wasn't for lack of watering during fall and spring as per instructions. What can I do?
Montgomery County Maryland
Your trees failed to become established, and probably as a result of both cultural and environmental factors. The tree in your photo was planted too deeply or mulched too heavily. Although we cannot see the actual planting hole, if it were dug in the shape of a straight-sided bucket, the roots would have been unable to expand laterally. In either case, it appears that the roots were either suffocated or impeded. As a side note: although it was not a factor in the failure of the tree, the staking was done improperly. The tree was not able to move in the wind and it is necessary that there be enough slack in the guy wires to allow some movement in order to strengthen the tree trunk.
The tree is planted on a rather severe slope which obviously has an impact on water drainage in the soil.
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