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Drowning fruit tree

I am in the process of planting up a new garden from scratch and we planted half a dozen young fruit trees last autumn. We garden on heavy clay which has resulted in parts of the garden resembling a pond on many occasions this year. One of the trees ( a damson) sitting at the lowest point in the little orchard is showing signs of distress and the leaves are turning  yellow. I am thinking this is due to the planting hole being filled with water due to the constant heavy rain we have had over the last 2 months. I had thought I could dig a sump hole about 3 foot away with a drainage trench from the planting hole?

Has anyone got any other ideas about how I could save this young tree?


  • Caribo77Caribo77 Posts: 1
    I can sympathise, I have a falstaff apple tree we got a beautiful crop from last year. This year however, the blossom never developed into fruit and the tree now looks really ill! I'm very concerned its got fireblight but would really appreciate some advice. I will try to post a pic and see if anyone has an idea
  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    @ frensclan -  It would be a good idea to re-plant your young tree on a little hillock of 30 to 40 cm high after leaf fall if it is still alive by then. Take away the soil for this hillock in the direct neighbourhood of the tree so you'll end up with a shallow trench at 30 cm from the hillock which will take care of drainage. You could dig this trench a little deeper and fill it with grit for even better drainage.

    Apple, Cherry and Damson Trees absolutely dislike having wet feet for a long(er) period so there is a possibilitiy the young tree will not survive. If so, and you would like to plant a new tree in that position, it's best you plant that on a hillock to be on the safe side.

  • frensclanfrensclan Posts: 119

    Many thanks for this   Flowerchild, sadly I did think I might not be able to save it. Just hoping the rest do not go the same way. If we do get complete leaf fall I will try this. Still raining so am expecting the worst.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    Digging simple trenchs and holes won't get the water out a clay soil. They create a sump, which will soon fill up, and you're back to square one. The only way to get free-draining soil on top of clay is to plant in raised areas. Carol Klein's garden is an amazing place (on BBC HD tonight). She has huge raised beds, several feet deep, so the soil-level is at waist-height.

    An alternative solution that farmers sometimes use is to lay land-drains, which drain the water away into old-fashioned ditches.

    In your question to say that the damson tree is at the lowest part of the garden. The obvious answer is to move the tree to the higher end - and then the drainage will take care of itself.

    I'd be tempted to move it immediately. I don't what others think...


  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    There is one other solution-grow it in a container-you obviously have to take care or water and feeding but that does overcome the clay soil and drainage problem-just depends on how big the tree is going to get.

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