Ginko tree leaves drooping.

Asked April 29, 2016, 6:59 AM EDT

We purchased our Ginko tree online several years ago (2013) . It seems to be a slow growing tree, which is OK..............we liked the yellow leaves in the fall. The first year it was OK.......the second year, it grew a little, then last year , 2015, it seemed to really fill out and grow more. This year it leafed out and was doing good. We've had a lot of rain and thought that was good for it. Now the leaves are drooping and curling............I do not want to lose the tree...............is there anything we can do to make sure we don't.?

Debbie Hurt

Williamson County Illinois

1 Response

Thank you for sending your question to us at eXtension.

You state that the leaves are drooping and curling. Are they wilted and limp, or are they still turgid (full of water)? Depending on how you answer, we could have two radically different problems.

If the leaves are wilted and limp, then water is not getting up to the leaves. There may have been enough moisture in the wood for the leaves to open, but not enough moisture is getting through to keep the leaves open. Some of the things that could cause this would be winter injury, trunk injury, or root injury. Look for any types of chewing on the lower stem. These types of damage are generally lethal; by the time the tree starts wilting, it's already too late to save it.

If, on the other hand, the leaves are curled but turgid (not limp), then it's possible the tree got a small whiff of herbicide. We've had some pretty warm, windy days this spring, and a nearby lawn or farm application of a growth regulator herbicide could possible have landed on the tree. In my own yard, we've had the same thing happen from my wife's over-enthusiastic use of Roundup. Most of the time, the leaves that were budding out at the time of the drift event are the ones that will show symptoms, but the tree usually grows out of it as the season goes on. I would not pull off these leaves (there's no benefit at this time), but keep monitoring the plant, especially the newest growth that should still be emerging. The plant will either recover, or not. There's not much you can do at this point that will help the tree, other than watering it if we go 2 weeks without rain. Do not fertilize the tree, that will only stress it more.

If you want, you can also post some pictures to this site and I can look at them and see if I'm on the right track with my diagnosis.