En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Watering Native Trees in Georgetown, TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 19, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Watering Native Trees in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I installed a native/adapted plantscape in early March including several small trees. They were planted in the rocky soil west of I-35 in Georgetown with plenty of added compost and mulch. Other than an initial root stimulator dose at planting, they have not been fertilized. All three possum haw and one of two anacacho orchids have many leaves that are browning at the tips. I know the heat and drought are factors adding to their stress. They get watered with bubblers three days a week, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening each day. I'm concerned that I'm either over- or under-watering. How can I tell which.. or is there something else possibly going on?

ANSWER:

  Mr Smarty Plants initial vote went for over-watering, you should really cut that down,  but on consideration - transplant stress is another strong possibility since the Possumhaw seems to be reacting worse than the Anacacho Orchid!  How can you tell if it's watered correctly?  Test the soil near the tree.  After watering it should be damp to a depth of 4-5 inches.  Check out the Forest Service video referenced below.  For information on the best growing conditions look at the plants record in the plant database.

Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is found fully naturally in West Texas towards the Rio Grande Valley - It is acclimatized to quite dry conditions and the plant record [under Growing Conditions] indicates it does best in dry soil with low water conditions.

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) is much more tolerant of water.   It is native to Central to East Texas and the Plant Record indicates it likes moist soil and medium watering. It is a bit inconsistent with my call of overwatering that all of the possumhaw are affected and only one of two Anacacho Orchids is; this is a little more indicative of transplant shock.

Still 3X/week at 30 minutes per watering day is quite a bit of water. The Wildflower Center also has a page - Drought Resource Center - Watering information is there including The City of Austin Earthwise Guide to Tree Care during Drought and a Forest Service Video on Tree Watering Tips. Note especially on the video, the use of a screwdriver to test the soil to see if it's watered enough.  A reasonable guideline for watering trees would be to set the bubblers to water once every 2 weeks for 2 hours instead of 15 minutes 2x a day. Once the trees are established, in about 2 years time, stop watering unless there is extreme drought.

 Is something else going on - maybe.  When I checked the other Mr Smarty Plants answers, they look fairly even that leaf browning may be watering [over OR under] and/or transplant shock.
- Anachacho Orchid leaves turning brown and curling in Driftwood.
- Leaves turning brown and dropping in Austin
- Possumhaw loosing leaves in Liberty Hill after transplant
- Brown Leave on Possumhaw in Grandview TX

 

From the Image Gallery


Anacacho orchid tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

Anacacho orchid tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

Anacacho orchid tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

More Trees Questions

protecting native trees during drought
June 07, 2011 - We are very concerned about our mature live oaks and cedar elms because they are so stressed due to the drought. We have lost several of our mountain juniper and I really don't want to lose our more...
view the full question and answer

Sap of mulberry similar to sap of maple for syrup from Wellman IA
February 23, 2012 - Can the the sap of the mulberry tree be used to make syrup similar to maple Syrup?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with native plants in Austin
October 06, 2005 - I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
view the full question and answer

Is December a good time to prune oaks in Central Texas?
December 29, 2010 - Given that we haven't had much cold weather here in central Texas (Wimberley) this season, is it a good time to trim live and Spanish oak trees (damaged limbs and low hanging branches and suckers)? ...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees not toxic to dogs in Kempner TX
August 21, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, we are looking for shade trees to plant around our home in Kempner, Tx. I saw another family that asked a similar question but we have dogs and holly or oak trees are toxic (my...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center