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Old 12-26-2011, 03:59 PM
 
Location: 31.32' North
97 posts, read 305,274 times
Reputation: 195

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I have a shumard oak in my yard, which I planted in July 2009, that does not appear to have grown a bit. I think it may have grown just a tad, but it just seems to me that it should be a lot further along by now. It was about 7 feet tall when I planted it. The leaves are sick looking and brittle in most places; other spots have perfectly healthy leaves. I realize that oak trees aren't the fastest growing trees, but this one should be growing more than it is, I think.
I live in the USDA Plant Hardiness zone 8a.

I am a sucker for good fall foliage, and I like to plant things that will produce the most dazzling fall colors (for my area, anyway). That's why I chose this tree - shumard oaks produce some very nice bright red leaves in mid to late November.

Is there a good fertilizer I could use, and if so, when do I need to fertilize it, so I can get this baby growing? The soil in my yard isn't the greatest - very sandy in places. What can I do? Any advice is appreciated.

Many thanks!
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
26,621 posts, read 14,061,270 times
Reputation: 40004
not sure if you should fertilize at all. A tree's roots should grow faster than the tree (balance-to hold the tree up). It could be growing roots and not branches which is as it should be. Having said that, if the most of the leaves and branches are sick looking, there may be a problem although again, fertilizer may not be the answer. Do you have a local cooperative extension? Or could you take a photo or leaf to where you bought the tree? There may be some fungus, parasite or other infestation going on.

and don't forget, you plant trees for your children or grandchildren, not yourself.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:18 AM
 
Location: WA
5,594 posts, read 23,739,037 times
Reputation: 6417
Each tree is an individual and sometimes you get one that is slow or never vigorous. And some Oaks are sensitive to PH so an alkaline soil can get it to a slow start... maybe a soil test is in order. I have never needed to fertilize an Oak that has decent soil and moisture... and Oak trees are generally slower to grow than other trees.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
42,788 posts, read 57,166,355 times
Reputation: 121395
It's not the prpoer time to fertilize the tree. Your problem sounds like it may be rootbound in the original planting hole, or there is some obstacle preventing the roots from spreading out. Until the roots grow and establish themselves the above ground part will not do much of anything. The rule of thumb is for every inch of root growth below ground there is an inch of above ground tree growth.
Here's a website with information on the Shumard Tree that should help you.
Shumard's Oak Plant Guide | Shumardii Plant Information | Garden Guides
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:46 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,003 posts, read 11,208,759 times
Reputation: 19512
Did you or have you used a root stimulating solution on your tree? When planting something new on your property, it is a great idea to research the ideal soil for that plant, then dig a LARGE hole, amending the soil to that specific plant's needs. I say LARGE hole, because you don't want your new baby to run out of its "perfect" environment before it becomes established. Also, it's a great idea to continue to use a "transplanting" solution until you're sure your new baby is established.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Floribama
18,484 posts, read 39,422,556 times
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I never buy trees in pots anymore because they're always root bound. Try buying smaller air pruned seedlings from somewhere like Mossy Oak Nurseries or MailOrderNatives. A healthy Shumard Oak can grow 3' per year after it's established.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,003 posts, read 11,208,759 times
Reputation: 19512
I've never had a problem with buying potted trees or shrubs. I do, however, break up the rootballs, then soak them in transplanting solution for 24 hrs before planting them.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,794 posts, read 4,617,053 times
Reputation: 3659
Classy,
Don't fertilize a tree. Ever.
You planted the tree too deep. You have to redig it up, and replant it with the top of the roots almost showing.
Use mulch in sandy soil. 2-3 inches around the base of the
tree, but not close to the stem.
The old saying goes, Plant a tree too high and it won't die,
Plant a tree too low, and it won't grow.
Make sure after you replant it this spring, you water
deeply once a week with a garden hose on low so the roots
will catch up and the tree should look nice for you this fall.
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