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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

Young beech hedge failing in this long spell of dry weather


 
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mccarrd4
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 07 May 2012
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Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Young beech hedge failing in this long spell of dry weather Reply with quote

Hi,
I planted a small section of beech hedge last winter from bare roots that were 3 to 4 foot tall They were starting to grow fine up until 4 or 5 weeks ago. Now with this dry weather they're totally withered with very little growth. The leaves do appear healthier towards the bottom of each plant. The area they are planted in is quite exposed, to sun and wind. I'm watering them 2 or 3 times a week. Is it just a case that I need to water them more frequently as the root system isn't developed? Do they need to be watered daily in this heat? Thanks, D.



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maigheomac
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Joined: 03 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, there are many factors, eg. soil type, wind exposure... but my thinking would be that the your problem might lie with the root system not being developed enough after transplantation

My thinking would be along the lines that before the beech was originally dug up, the root system was large enough to support the plant above ground. But the act of digging up, transplanting to its current location has naturally damaged the roots (especially as they were put in as bare roots) by maybe 50% (guesstimate). This means that same size plant has only half the root system to support it now.....
Plant can generally cope with this but won't thrive in the first few seasons and if there extremes of weather, like we have now, then the plant will really struggle.............

Generally, this is overcome by cutting the plant down to size by say a third or a half at planting time. This means that weaker root system has less of a plant to support and therefore more time to rejuvenate itself and grow roots large enough to cope with the weather extremes.
So my solution (assuming you haven't done this already) would be to keep up the watering but to prune the main stems to maybe 50% of their current size.
Yes you lose some of the height but its a bit like going slow to go fast as plant should recover and thrive quicker.
I do have a bit of uncertainty as to whether beech can be pruned midsummer..... but I'll leave that to others to answer

Anyway, hope that helps a bit..
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tippben
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Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beech can be pruned in mid summer (July onwards, after the Dryad's Saddle fungus has spored), or midwinter. Never cut or prune when it is coming into leaf, or starting to lose its leaves. I would make sure there is no competition from grass, or other weeds, then water and feed. I think you answered your own question: as the poster above said, the plants are not established enough to sustain the leaves they have, so watering every day that it isn't rainy is a great idea, as long as you are not watering more efficient weeds, like grass as well.
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