Redwoods Turns Brown & Water Retention

Question:

 The needles on my Redwood trees are turning brown. It started with the last heat spell. I have a drip tape around them with half a gallon per hour every twelve inches for one hour. It is at the drip line. Also, I added a sprinkler that I rotate around the canopy weekly. My gardener insists on blowing away fallen debris from under the redwoods. I keep telling him no, but it is a losing battle. Should I be watering more?

Answer:

  • Redwoods require more water than the typical conifer, especially when the afternoon sun beats on the soil.
  • They're shallow rooted with many roots near the soil surface. A half a gallon of water per hour is not very much for a mature redwood.
    • So, I would definitely increase the water, and it's not too late to start. We have one or two heat spells left before things cool down and the rainy season begins.
  •  It would be best if you increased the volume of water by increasing the time to three to four hours per application. You might also install soaker hoses inside the drip line or continue with the sprinkler twice a week and more often when it's hot. You're looking to prevent any more damage. Unfortunately, the brown leaves on the tree will not turn green.
  • One of the primary benefits of mulching is moisture retention. A three-inch layer of bark or leaf debris is ideal. Mulch is expensive ( see the table below for coverage), so the redwood's natural debris will save you money. Redwoods produce a lot of debris which is very desirable. So, your Gardner is not doing you any favors by blowing it away, so fire him.
  NOTE: 1. Here are the videos from a previous column on how to water mature and young trees. https://youtu.be/lrirPBMTYi0 and  https://youtu.be/P_kQZriJ38U. 2. A 2cu ft bag of bark will cover how many square feet?

Question:

 My potted plant's soil becomes hydrophobic quickly, so it never gets very wet. As a result, my plants do poorly as the water runs out of the container's bottom quickly. I've tried adding peat moss to increase the water retention, but i

Answer:

  • You don't hear about a 'Hydrophobic Soil' very often. A 'Hydrophobic Soil' refers to any substance or surface that resists water. They act the same way as similar magnet poles by repelling each other. The word hydrophilic is also Greek, meaning water-loving. In other words, your soil is repelling water and not absorbing, so your plants suffer.
  • I'd first thing I would try is a wetting agent. EZ Wet from Gro More reduces the surface tension around the soil particles, so water is absorbed.
  • Next, I would add Soil Moist crystals to your potting Soil. The crystals expand and hold water for plants to use. They are both available at your favorite garden center or online at Amazon.