Caring for summer transplanted plants

Question: I recently planted a 10 foot maple tree in the ground. The roots had been covered with burlap and tied with twine at the top. After placing the tree in the hole, I carefully removed the twine and folded the top of the burlap down into the hole as instructed by the garden store. I placed the top of the ball at soil level. A week after transplanting, most of the leaves have burned on the edges. I have watered the tree daily except for a 3 day period when I was gone. What do you think caused the leaves to burn on the edges? Should I have completely removed the burlap?

Answer: I commend you for your careful transplanting procedures. Leaving twine tied around the trunk can cause damage as the tree grows. You could have completely removed the burlap, but if you folded it away from the top, everything should be just fine. If burlap is left on top of the soil ball it can wick moisture and cause the ball to dry out quickly. Check to make sure that none of the burlap is sticking up above the soil line. I would also cover the top of the soil ball with a half inch of soil to reduce evaporation from the ball.

Did you place a ring of soil around the tree to hold water when you irrigate? Sprinkling a little water on top of the soil ball is not enough to completely wet the soil ball. Allow an inch or two of water to accumulate on top.

Did you sprinkle granular fertilizer around the roots or on top when you planted? An excess of fertilizer can cause water to be pulled out of the soil ball. If you applied a lot of fertilizer, I would recommend extra heavy watering to wash some of the fertilizer away from and below the root zone.

Unless the leaf scorching gets worse, your tree will probably be just fine. It is natural for the stress of the transplanting to cause some leaf edge burn. The root system is not adequate in hot weather to get enough water to all the leaves. You will probably lose some of those leaves before the normal time of leaf drop. Your tree will have time to develop a larger root system this fall that will be adequate for new leaf development next spring.

Continue watering every 2 to 3 days until consistent fall rains (usually mid-October).




Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

Scroll to top