How often should I water my young natchez crepe myrtle trees the leaves are withered are they dying?

I just planted 8 natchez crepe myrtle trees two weeks ago they are small 7gal. and now the leaves are withered and falling off? I live in zone 8 (Louisiana) and have clay soil how often should I water? I have been watering them twice a week. It has been very windy here lately 30-40mph gusts so the leaves are getting a beating from the wind. I brought them home in the bed of a truck and some of the leaves blew off and looked bad after the trip. Do you think they are going to die? HELP!!!

Submitted by tr242

Hi, Well I can't determine if your plants will survive or not, but it sounds like they've had a rough time of it. First of all, driving them unprotected in the back of a pick-up is a very good way to shock them. If you need to haul deciduous trees in a pick-up, you need to wrap them with a tarp to protect the foliage, especially if you will be driving over 25 miles per hour. Plus with the wind, your poor trees are having a rough start. Because you have clay soil you want to be careful you don't overwater because the moisture could just sit there and rot the roots. On the other hand, young trees, especially those in an exposed windy location, need a good amount of moisture so regular watering is a must. All I can say is that I would mulch them with several inches of shredded bark and then water every day or two if it's hot or windy. You could take a small stake and push it into the ground to test if the soil is all wet and gumbo-like or if it's dry. Often, with good care, your trees will grow new leaves, but it may take a while for them to do this so they may look raggedy for a while. Or, they could die. I just can't predict.

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