What is wrong with my tree?

Asked June 13, 2018, 11:01 PM EDT

This tree was spaded in last week of March. I've been watering it with a soaker hose once a week for about one hour. This am it looked so droopy and I notice the bark is falling off. I didn't notice anything wrong with it before today.
Help!! I watered this am and this evening with the soaker for one hour each time. What else can I do?
Thanks for your assistance.

El Paso County Colorado trees and shrubs

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. I think this is a Ponderosa Pine. I suspect there may be several issues -
1. Not enough water. A general rule - 10 gallons of water for each trunk diameter inch.
2. Planted too deeply. Insufficient moisture and air available to roots. Based on picture I do not see an flare at the base of the trunk. Info about why root flare is important.

Thank you Kitty for your response. I've been watering with the soaker hose 3 x day for one hour. The tree doesn't look any better, nor any worse. Would you suggest continuing with the soaker hose or just put the water on with a hose? We were told this was a pole pine and not a ponderosa. Does that make a difference? I'm considering having an arborist come. This tree was spaded in by our home builder when the ground was frozen. Are spaded trees also suppose to raised up?

Thanks Lori

It is also possible to over-water your tree. I cannot say for certain if you are now providing too much water. We would have to know how much water is provided by the soaker hose for a specific period of time, e.g., an hour. I personally use a hose and spray my new trees. I estimate the number of gallons that I provide; I should actually measure and I know this. If the tree is 4 inches in diameter, you want to provide 40 gallons of water per week (see link #1 in my original response). I am providing a link with information about a "pole pine." Perhaps your builder meant lodgepole pine? The type of tree does not matter, but would be interesting to know.

All transplanted trees need to be planted at the proper depth. When you say spaded, I think you mean the builder used a spade to remove the tree. The tree is then moved while in the spade and put directly from the spade into the ground. I see this process used quite frequently.

You noted that the ground was frozen when the tree was planted. This was not good. Many of the trees roots were destroyed when the tree was removed. The tree should have been watered immediately and routinely when planted on your property. Link - care of recently planted trees - http://cmg.colostate.edu/Gardennotes/635.pdf

I think you should determine how much water to be used per week (based on the diameter of tree), water and see how it goes. My personal experience is that smaller trees are much easier to establish. If the tree does not survive, I recommend a smaller tree. You can consult an arborist. I have no idea how much a consultation will cost. You may wish to do a cost benefit analysis, i.e., cost of the consultation vs correct amount of water, the wait and see approach with the understanding that you may have to replace the tree.

I admire your tenacity. I think you must be trying to establish your landscape and I predict it will be lovely and well -maintained.