Newly planted Crimson Red Maple tree, 'scorching?'

Asked May 29, 2019, 9:18 AM EDT

Hello: We purchased a Crimson Sunset Maple tree on 5/16. The tree was in a 10 gallon container and it is approximately 7 feet tall. It was planted per the instructions provided by the nursery and we have been faithfully watering it (2 gallons of water, twice a week). It is now 5/29 and the tree is showing signs of stress where some of the leaves appear 'scorched' (more on the southwest side). Photos attached. Could this be stress from transport in an open pickup, or 'normal' transplant stress? What are your thoughts about how much water to use (the trunk is around 1" diameter)? -Thanks

Carroll County Maryland

3 Responses

We could not see around the base of the trunk. It looks like your tree is trying to establish its root system. We cannot say for sure if the foliage was affected during transport and/or transplant stress. It is a large tree and it needs time for the roots to grow into the surrounding soil. Here are some factors to think about regarding the planting process.

Make sure the tree was not planted too deeply. You should be able to see the flare at the base of the trunk where it joins the root system; were the roots teased apart so they could grow into the native soil; if you added a lot of organic matter into the planting hole you may have created a bathtub effect as water sits in the planting hole and drowns the tree, backfill with native soil. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk.

Check the soil moisture of newly planted trees and shrubs at least once a week. It is okay to water about 1-2 gallons of water once a week depending upon the soil conditions. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine. If the soil begins to dry out, water the plant thoroughly. Do not overwater; however, you can easily drown newly planted trees and shrubs through too much tender loving care with the hose.
If the tree was planted too deeply or the roots were encircled within the container and not teased out, it is not too late to lift and replant.

Take a look at our website for the planting process, video (explains the process), and aftercare.
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/planting-process
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/after-planting-care

Marian

Thanks for the response !

Based on your information, I think we did a good job with the depth, and mulching. We backfilled with about a 50/50 mixture of native soil and topsoil. We will try to gauge the watering based on the feel of the soil rather than a specific gallon amount. One thing we may have not done well enough is teasing the roots loose. We did that on the bottom, but not the sides (it was packed pretty tightly in the pot as you would imagine). Not sure if digging / re-planting would be warranted for this reason alone or not...

Yes you will have to lift and replant the tree so the roots will grow into the surrounding soil. Container plants establish faster if you disturb the “around the pot” growth direction of the roots. Use a sharp knife or blade to cut four one-inch-deep cuts the length of the root ball. Tease out the roots and spread them in the planting hole. New roots will rapidly grow from the cut areas of the roots.

Marian