Golden Raintree Problem

Asked July 31, 2016, 6:08 PM EDT

I left on vacation 4 days ago and when I left my raintree (which is 3 years old now) was doing fine. I watered it frequently during this past hot weather spell we had. However I came home today after that torrential downpour and flooding to find it droopy, leaves have dried up, and gives the appearance of drought burn. Is this what it is? Or do you think it's fireblight or anthracnose? It's odd that it just happened within the last 4 days I've attached a photo. Do you know what this is or how I can treat it? Poor thing looks awful!!

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3 Responses

It appears to have a root problem.

Because you mentioned watering and then a drenching rainfall, watering could have drowned the roots. (Roots need oxygen, and too much water crowds out the oxygen in the soil.) Permanent landscape plants generally only need to be watered once a week. Even in hot temperatures, a once-a-week good soaking is preferable to frequent watering. Plants like the golden rain tree do not like to sit in soggy soil. They want well-drained, but moist, soil. About 1" of rainfall a week suffices. To see whether watering is necessary, probe the soil. If it is dry about 1" down, it's still fine. When it gets dry lower than that, give it a good soak.

You can also scratch the soil shallowly around the perimeter of the original root ball to determine whether the roots have grown well beyond that and gotten established. If not, you may want to dig it up, improve the soil in a larger area around it by adding organic matter, and replant.


Thank you for that answer. We have a deer problem and I noticed that the bottom of the trunk, however small it is, looked to be chewed at. We covered it with one of those drain pipe extensions (round, black plastic tubes that you put at the end of your drain pipes). It has plenty of breathing room but perhaps that's the issue. I checked the soil yesterday and it seemed to be damp from the rain but not sitting in still water. I did not check the root ball so I'll inspect that today. Awww. Poor thing. I've babied that for so long. Hate to lose it! I was wondering if it had that disease where water can't get up through the vascular system. If it's got that, then I'm going to have to replace it. Do you know how I can determine that? (Sorry for asking so many questions. I'm a Master Gardener intern and learning new things all the time!) Thank you so much.

We think you are referring to verticillium wilt. Here is our website info, which includes visual ways to diagnose: