Saving a Drowning Tree
I planted a red oak tree about a month and a half ago. All was well until about a week ago, and now all its leaves are dried up and it looks bad. I suspect overwatering, but I'm not sure. I pulled all the mulch off and sure enough the tree could shift if you move it by force. I grabbed some mineral spikes and easily pushed them as far as I could around the tree, in hopes that it might help. Did I do the right thing, and is there something more I can do to try to save it?
How much and how often have you been watering? How large is the tree? How deep was the mulch? Does the location drain well?
When sending a tree or shrub home with someone, I always recommend the equivalent of 1" water weekly, about 5 gallons. This would suffice for almost any plant up to 8' tall with a spread of 4', and trunk diameter up to 1-1 1/2 inches. Larger plants should have 10 gallons weekly. Mulch should not be over 4'' deep, or the tree could smother.