The Q&A Archives: Chinese Parasol Trees

Question: We have recently transplanted 2 small Firmiana simplex parasol trees. One is doing extremely well, and the other is just barely growing. The leaves are brown around the edges. The trees are planted within 10 feet of each other, both receiving full sun and equal amounts of water. We have been told that these trees are easy to grow and relatively disease/pest-free. What could the problem be?

Answer: Chinese Parasol Trees are historically easy to grow, so your tree obviously is stressed by some environmental condition. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs can go through a period of shock before they settle down and become established in the landscape. If it were mine, I'd give the puny tree the rest of the summer to straighten out and begin to grow. If it declines, or maintains it poor appearance, dig it up this fall and inspect the root system. Healthy roots should be creamy white on the inside. Snap a few in half to make sure they are alive. Inspect the planting hole, too, making sure that it drains well. If the roots and the soil pass inspection, replant the tree and give it a little more time to adjust to its new home. If not, I'd try to have it replaced by the nursery.

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