The Q&A Archives: Transplanted Tree Wilting

Question: I transplanted a 6 ft. tall japanese maple tree two weeks ago and have kept it well watered since. All of the leaves have shriveled up and look as though they will fall off. Is the tree "shocked"? Is there anything I could do to ensure its survival? SHould I fertilize it?

Answer: Don't fertilize should only fertilize actively growing plants. It's hard to say whether it will recover. It's usually best to move plants like these when they are dormant. Whenever you dig up a plant, you invariably damage the delicate root hairs responsible for taking in water. And plants with lots of foliage need lots of water to supply all those leaves. So you need to give the tree time to replace those damaged root hairs. Keep the plant well-watered, but not sitting in saturated soil. I have a Japanese maple that seems to sprout readily, so I wouldn't give up on the plant, even if it loses these leaves. It may well sprout more.

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