How Much Danger are My Fruit Trees Facing?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MsPacMan, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2004
    I have planted twenty-something fruit trees: peach, plum, nectarine and one cherry tree.

    Most of these trees were planted into the ground only in the last six weeks. Some of them had been potted in gallon pots before they went into the ground, others were bare roots that I just got in from Stark Bros. in late November.

    I live in west Tennessee, in zone 7, and my soil is very clay based.

    My question is this: it has rained, and rained, and rained, and rained some more. The only break we have gotten in the rain, almost from the day they were planted, was during the Christmas week, when the rain turned into a solid, slippery, ten acre sheet of ice.

    The land is now extremely soggy, and it is still raining as I write this. On top of that, the forecaster is calling for rain much of the next week!

    I did not have Noah's foresight to plant my trees on an ark.

    So what can I do to help them? Are my newly planted trees drowning in all the water? They have got to be drenched to the hilt.

    Am I likely to loose them?

    Is the fate of the potted trees likely to be different from the fate of the bare roots?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    If the clay soil is holding water around the roots, then that is not good. If the roots stay wet long enough they could start to rot before the trees start to bud out.

    The only suggestion I would have (and it's gonna be a lot of work) is to dig the trees up, dig a big hole and put a couple of feet of large (1 1/2" or so) gravel in the bottom of the hole and them re-plant the trees in a good loamy mix of soil. This may allow enough water to drain away from the roots.

    Hope this helps.

  3. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

    Dec 9, 2002
    Were they bare root? I think they will be fine.
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002
    At least with Stark Bros they will replace the trees you lose in the first year. I prefer spring planting myself as it allows the trees a good growing season before the cold.

    For the trees already planted, you will just have to do the best you can. Can you improve the drainage? When you planted did you turn up and improve plenty of soil around the hole you planted them in?

    When you plant more trees, mound up the ground so that they sit slightly high. It needs to be a fair sized mound but it really helps.

  5. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Dec 11, 2002
    NE PA
    I too prefer to plant in the spring, but I am in a colder zone than 5, sometimes bordering on zone 4.
    Is there a natural slope to the land that will at least carry away
    excess water from the surface, or is it absolutely flat?
    I'd think most of them will survive, as there seem to be more
    deaths from not watering enough with newly planted trees
    than from too much water. Make a decision in late winter/early spring
    whether the plants have survived, and if not, re-plant.
    I have clay soil also, but lose fruit trees to rabbits over winter, and
    lose fruit to late spring frosts, but never to too much water, but I am
    on a 12 percent slope.
    Good luck.