Cleveland Pear Trees

Asked September 5, 2016, 2:29 PM EDT

I purchased two Cleveland Pear Trees in 15 gal. containers, had them delivered Friday Aug 25, and planted Saturday Aug. 26. By Friday Sept 2, one of the trees was showing signs of stress. Some of the leaves were turning orange/brown, almost as if it were turning into fall colors. But the other tree was fine and showing no signs of leaves turning. The tree that is stressed is getting worst day by day and most of the leaves are brown now 9 days after being planted. The two trees were planted within 20 feet of each other and getting the same amount of water and sun. Can you tell me what is happening and if there is anything I can do to save this tree? At this rate, it will probably be dead by this Friday or Saturday Sept 9/10. Thank you for your assistance

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response

Were both trees dug from a nursery bed just prior to being delivered to you or were they both sitting at a landscape business (already dug earlier in the year) ... or was one recently dug and the other, not? Did the place where you purchased the specimens provide you with a guarantee?

It sounds like the tree is suffering from not only transplant shock but water stress. These specimens were moved and relocated/planted in a very hot period and depending on the planting site (soil condition), they may have suffered severe water loss. Their internal transpiration system has been disrupted. High ambient temperatures will cause the plant to transpire more moisture though the leaves - if the moisture is available in the vascular system. The one tree showing more decline may have had its root system exposed to a 'drying-out' condition (hot sun, no water) before it arrived to your residence.

They are both also suffering from transplant shock - the entire system becomes imbalanced and some part of the tree (roots or shoots) will suffer.

Since these were large specimens to be contained in a 15 gallon pot, there is a lot of root structure and leaf biomass that needs to adjust. You may loose all life on the branches that are turning brown. Continue to provide adequate water in just the root zone area, throughout the remaining of this growing season. Next spring will tell how much damage was done to the tree - depending on what section produces buds and leaves. ~DOT