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Roses are Red

I planted an Apple Tree last Autumn but i have noticed that my Salix is looking very poorly and my Hydrangea is also not doing that well! Both plants are either side of the Apple Tree could the Apple tree be causing the problems? 

John Harding

Salix is a willow and willows like water - plenty of it - that's why you often find willows thriving on the banks of streams & rivers. It may be that the apple is taking water the salix would prefer to have - depends on how close it is. Remember, the root system below ground will pretty much mirror the canopy of what is above ground for size. I'm not sure about the Hydrangea though, not a plant I have had much to do with. I wouldn't have thought an Apple planted last Autumn though would have established its root system sufficiently yet to have caused the problem with either Salix or Hydrangea.

GillyL

Hydrangeas are thirsty plants too.

How close are they to each other? If the Salix and Hydrangea are mature I would have expected the apple to be suffering rather than the other way round.

Roses are Red

Thanks for the replies! The Apple tree is about 3 feet away from the plants on either side.They are both mature plants but the Salix hardly has any leafs on it and the Hydrangea's leafs are looking sparse and curled up.The Apple tree itself is only about 4 feet high but is looking well.Seem's like a bit of a coincidence as both plants were very healthy last year.

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John Harding

I would say the Apple tree is far too close to the Salix whether or not it is causing a problem. My wife says the Hydrangea prefers an acid soil (she knows more than me about flowering plants!)    My daughter bought me an Apple tree for my 50th birthday - a family tree with 3 varietys on the one tree. It too was about 4 ft high when I planted it - after 18 years it is now about 7 ft high (after pruning) and about 8-10 ft diameter. Nearest tree to it is a Cherry planted autumn 2011, about 10 ft away, doing well but I wouldn't dare have put it closer than it is. Think when planting what it will become in a few years.

Roses are Red

Maybe i will move the Salix and put the Apple tree where the Salix was or put the Apple tree somewhere else.It would be a shame if the Salix died,your right John i should have planned it out a bit more but that's the way i do things!  By the way i  have heavy clay soil in my garden and it's hard to work with but apparently quite fertile! 

John Harding

A farmer friend near Ely (Cambridgeshire) who had very heavy clay soil once told me that to break up & lighten heavy clay soil use horse manure and sand. To make sandy soil heavier incorporate cow manure.

Roses are Red

I took the Apple tree out today and planted it in a large pot on my sunny patio,until i find a more suitable place for it soon. Fingers crossed the other plants will now recover? Btw John, i dug plenty of manure into one of my borders which an old shed had stood on for years.It had to go,due to being rotten and the border was back braking work but worth it now as the plants are maturing nicely! 

John Harding

Well done, Couldn't have been easy work moving the tree. Keep it watered well btw. It's amazing just how much water a tree can use up through transpiration. Hope the horse is feeling better after supplying all the manure for the border

Roses are Red

Look's like the Salix is dead but i'll give it another week to see if a miracle happens! I have an Escallonia 'Apple Blossom' to replace it otherwise.I think the Hydrangea will be ok but might just be a bit below par this year.Lesson learnt in terms of planting fruit  trees in amongst other plants! A friend of mine has a Plum tree which nothing much does well around it,so that seem's to be the case.The Apple tree came out really easy ,John but the horse is in the Priory! Alas it was all too much for it! 

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