Amanda Wheaton wrote:say this is your land and these are your newly planted fruit trees.
If these were your trees with same sandy ground, what would you do to maximize their moisture retention so that you didn't spend every 3rd day out there in the middle of summer with 5 gallon buckets in your hands?
Rebecca Norman wrote:Newly transplanted trees don't want large amounts of "fertilizer" (ie nitrogen) in the first year or two. It stressed them out by forcing them to produce lots of leaves when they don't yet have strong roots. What they, and most plants, appreciate is plenty of humus (well rotted compost and leaf mold) to help hold and modulate water and nutrients. Animal dung is high in nitrogen, so don't give a lot this year -- give lots of mulch to shade the soil to conserve moisture and harbor worms etc, and maybe next year add some manure, as well as more mulch.
When you said you "couldn't mulch because you need to get the moisture down in there" it doesn't make much sense to me. If you were using a sprinkler to deliver water, that would be a problem. You shouldn't use a sprinkler to water your young trees: you should pour water from a bucket or a hose into a saucer-shaped depression with a soil rim, that you make around each new tree. The water will go under the mulch and make it float while the water soaks down, moistening the bottom layer of mulch, which is a good thing. Anyway, I don't think you're using a sprinkler since you mention the hardship of lugging buckets.