Blackened leaves on young Tupelo tree
I planted this Tupelo in Spring 2019. Now it's June of 2020 and within the past few months all the new leaves shriveled and died, and although there are some new leaves growing, they're starting to do the same. The leaf tips become black and withered, and then die. The tree is still alive, but without leaves I fear it will die before long. Can I do anything to help?
Washington County Maryland
Since the leaf tips die first, it suggests a root problem. Have you been watering it religiously when we do not get rain for a week? Young trees need to have rainfall supplemented for at least 2 years from spring to fall (watch out for all droughts.) If we do not get 1" of rainfall a week--water.
Roots can dry up, but they can also drown. If you're pouring on a bucket of water every day, that could also kill the roots--though tupelo like moist soil, so this is less likely.
We can't see the base of the tree but be sure it is not planted too deeply. That will slowly kill a tree. The flare of the trunk (where it goes into the ground) should not be straight, but flare out a bit. If you cannot see the flare, scrape some of the soil away from the base until you see it.
Also, mulch should never touch the trunk, and be no more than 3" deep.
OK, thank you so much. I'll be more careful about watering when we don't get rain.