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Help with schip laurel irrigation question please!

last year
last modified: last year

Hi, I planted (100) 2 gallon schip laurels in July 2021 across the front of my property in order to shield my house from the road.

1/3 of them were planted under the drip line of a massive walnut tree. 2/3 have no other plantings competing for sunlight or moisture.

Since I didn't want to disturb the roots of the walnut tree, rather than dig holes to plant them, I sat the plants on the surface (see photo) and then built a topsoil/peat moss mixture to make their new home. They were spaced 24" apart since I want a dense screen.

As you can see in the photo, the plants under the walnut tree are struggling to grow while the rest of the plants are thriving and have added 2-3ft of top growth in a little over a year. So, a year later and there is a dramatic difference between the plants on the right side of the property as compared to the left side. It's very noticeable and doesn't look great. I'd like to see if I can get them to grow at a reasonably similar rate, if possible.

I suspect the problem I'm having is that the walnut tree is sucking up all the water and these plants aren't growing because I'm not able to get enough water to them.

As far as irrigation, I have a drip line which I run quite a lot. I also try to run the irrigation zone for the grass under the tree in the hopes that it might help satisfy it's need for water but we have Khylinga grass problems in this area so I have to be careful not to run it too much.

I'm wondering if anyone out there would have any ideas as to how I might be able to address this? I would greatly appreciate any input.

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