Last night I ventured back into the garden to properly assess the damage and water the trees. Sadly I have 14 saplings either dead or in need of severe intervention. It’s a shame there are no emergency health care numbers for trees. No expert service to rescue them. Hmmm. I guess it’s down to us to do the best we can.

Identifying any commonalities might offer some solutions moving forward.  They had a mix of soil.  Some had shop brought compose others had soil from the front garden which was more clay-like and should be better at retaining the moisture, none were mulched.  They came from different spots along the fence.  The only thing I can see in common is that they all have very small pots.

I kicked myself again for good measure. If I have transplanted these at the beginning of the week as intended we may not have had this setback.

This morning I moved all the pots to shaded areas and separate the 14 unlucky ones to one side.  All the baby trees were watered again some were sat in buckets of water for an hour or so, others were water watered from top-down.

I Need a Plan.

My priorities are to maintain the good health of the many oaklings that we still have in small pots. Yes, I would like to repot them as originally planned. But not in this heat and maybe a few at a time.  I am unsure if the evening heat would be suitable or to completely put the task off until the weather has broken and the temperatures have dropped. This is the UK the daily temperature is reaching about °28 C – the rain will come sooner or later.  If I wait it out we have a better chance of successful repotting, but if wait I risk losing more plants. I will be watching them like a hawk from now on. Hopefully not watching them die.

A quick glance at the Met Office weather forecast suggests that the temperatures will be cooling off next weekend. This may offer us a good opportunity to repot what’s needed.  That’s our window. I’ll see if I can get Maya onboard as this could be a good learning opportunity for all.

The Plan

First and foremost to keep all baby oaklings out of direct sunlight this week.

Ensure I have enough larger pots to provide new homes for the baby oaks which are currently in tiny 4in diameter pots.  Even a 6inch diameter would be an improvement.

I have already ordered a pot plant moisture tester so I can remove some of the guesswork from the watering. It was less than £10 and had good reviews. It will identify if the soil at root level is too dry, nicely moist, or too wet, which could easily be the next disaster waiting to happen. Mitigating the risk, it’s on my shopping list.

I will also need a sack of gravel – which I have already spied at the local supermarket.

I will try to match the soil currently in the pots with any additional soil I will need to add. This should reduce the risk of the baby oaks going into shock. Will need to check compost levels at home and replenish as needed. Remembering exactly which soil I brought for which pots would be impossible so It’ll have to be compost of a similar ilk.

As soon as the temperatures drop one evening I will re-potted 2 -3 baby oaklings up and monitor their health over 24-48hours.  If I’m happy then it’s time to recruit the big guns.

They will need enticing away from other distractions. I’ll have to set the scene.  So when the sun mellows in the evening, I will be sat in the garden with three glasses of something refreshing, fairy lights and some music, and a bowl of Maya’s favourite crisps. On a good evening, this could work. The task… to repot the remaining of the healthy baby oaklings.

For those 14 not-so-lucky baby oaks, I will not be changing their pots at the moment, not wanting to risk further damage. I have already re-introduced the water. This evening I will cut away any dried leaves, leaving just the stem and hopefully a root system that is saveable. I won’t feed them or overwater them.  I will try to maintain steady soil moisture for up to 1 month to see if the acorns can produce any new leaves.  If any of them succeed then I will prioritise repotting them at that point.

Fingers Crossed.


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