Answer: Your Japanese Silver Tree (Neolitsea sericea) should grow well in average soil, in full sun to light shade. It requires moderate water, which translates to frequent, deep soakings, especially during the growing season. It isn't unusual for a newly planted tree or shrub to take a full year to become established. Since yours has been in the ground for two years, the root system should be established and your tree should be thriving. Droopy foliage can indicate a lack of moisture flowing from the roots to the canopy of the tree. Root problems can include over or under watering, or poorly draining soil which keeps the roots too wet for too long a time. Black areas on the leaves might indicate excessive salts in the soil; perhaps from from over-fertilization or from very acidic or very alkaline soil. Black areas might also indicate a fungal or bacterial disease. For a positive identification of the black spots, take a sample of an affected leaf to your local Cooperative Extension office. There in Multnomah County, you'll find several Master Gardener Plant Clinics (usually found at Farmer's Markets and in the Garden Centers of most chain stores), or you can phone the Extension office at (503) 725-2000. Best wishes with your tree!
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