Q: I had a dogwood planted in my front yard in mid-April. The leaves are curling and the leaves on one branch have turned brown. I have an irrigation system and have also been watering more on recent hot days.
A: Planting a tree in April, rather than in October, the preferred month, makes it more difficult for the tree to establish itself. The new leaves and rapidly warming temperatures in spring put moisture demands on the roots that are hard to satisfy. Water must be applied directly to the rootball of the tree, typically every day or every other day in the absence of heavy rain. An irrigation system can’t do this.
Personally, I planted a dogwood in March of this year. I examine it daily to be sure the leaves are not drooping. When they do, I pour five gallons of water at the base of the trunk. I’ll do this until the leaves drop in November and will keep a sharp eye on it next summer.