Maple and Cherry tree shock

Asked September 29, 2016, 9:47 AM EDT

On Sep 10, 2016 I planted 5 trees in my yard, 3 Red Maples and 2 Quanzan Cherries (in holes 1 1/2 times the diameter of the pots and with soil conditioner added). The trees are browning and dropping bottom leaves yet the top leaves seem very happy. I am watering once per week with a slow 1/16" stream for 30 minutes x 3 intervals for a total of 1 1/2 hour slow stream irrigation, on Sunday afternoon every week. Should I be concerned about the leaf browning and leaf drop?

Stokes County North Carolina trees and shrubs

1 Response

It's reasonable to be concerned about browning leaves, but I suspect that your new trees are suffering from transplant shock where some of the roots die back and the tree sheds the lower leaves that it can no longer support.

If we continue to have dry weather this fall, I would increase your watering to twice per week. (of course Hurricane Matthew might take care of that for you).

Unfortunately, you may not see new growth to confirm the health of the tree until next year. Care for the tree well, irrigate to keep the soil moist, and apply a thick layer of organic mulch over the roots to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures. Next spring new growth will show you the real extent of the damage, if any. If there are branches that do not produce leaves next spring, you can trim them at that time.