I planted two rainier cherry trees and 1 bing cherry tree in my backyard about 2 weeks ago. I made sure that the soil was prepared properly using the soil activator the local nursery told me to use. I also made sure that the trees are getting enough water by a twice daily 45-minute drip system. Sadly my rainier cherry trees are looking pretty bad. Does anyone know what I can do to help the tree?
At this time of year I would expect the trees to be preparing for fall leaf drop, even if they hadn't just been subjected to the stress of a transplant. So long as the branch tips themselves aren't dying back I would just assume it's starting winter dormancy (possibly early in response to shock) which could be a good thing in the long run. In my area we do fall planting of most trees because they will grow and establish vital roots through the winter. I think this is the pattern everywhere so long as the ground isn't frozen. Just because you don't see happy leaves doesn't mean your trees aren't busily preparing for next years growth.
You might want to review your watering schedule. Most trees prefer deep watering to frequent watering. Many will even suffer and die if their root zone is continually saturated. On top of that, if you keep all the water concentrated close to the tree, it has less incentive to develop the kind of wide spread roots that will maximize nutrient and water uptake in the future. Having all the moisture on the surface of the soil encourages the trees to develop roots that are near the surface and so more exposed to temperature extremes, mechanical damage, and drought. This website http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/when-to-water-trees/7931.html actually gives a really good and detailed explanation of tree watering. Note that they specify for young trees, in hot dry weather as much as three deep waterings per week.
I would mix up a B-12 solution and use that to water those trees in. B-12 will help greatly with transplant shock, which is what you are most likely seeing at this time.
The reality of planting trees just as they start to go dormant is that most of these plantings become confused about what they are supposed to do.
I never plant trees as fall is arriving, it is far better to wait till they have dropped all their leaves and had a couple of weeks bare branched.
Once this has occurred, the tree is asleep and you can plant as many trees as you want to plant, without any fears.
Planting just before leaf turn/fall can over stress a young tree which can lead to branches dying or even tree death.
Any time you are planting a tree it is a good idea to give it a shot of Vitamins and minerals, since you are in essence waking up a trees root system by the disturbance.
The best time to plant trees, especially fruit trees is after they have gone to sleep for the winter, that way they wake up in their new home and can spend that first year establishing their roots in their new home.
I mix up vitamin solution every spring for a wake up booster for our orchard trees, it has resulted in great establishment of good roots.
I also let them grow un-fettered for the first two years, then I prune out all the detrimental branches (crossing, weak joints and doubles) so the trees won't suffer wind damage.
The third year is when I allow the trees to begin fruiting. This protocol allows the trees to have the structure below ground to support them well and that also means they can access the nutrients to put out a good crop of fruit without stressing them in any way.