Answer: Early leaf loss indicates stress, usually either heat stress or moisture stress or both. This can be caused by poor rooting or when it affects only one plant of a group it can be caused by slightly less favorable planting conditions such as less sun or more sun, more wind, or less water. Sometimes, too, for whatever reason, a plant will fail to root out into the surrounding soil. The best you can do is make sure the soil around the roots is kept evenly moist (not sopping wet) up until the ground freezes, then hope for the best next season. Losing its leaves early does not necessarily mean it will not come back next spring, it is just a natural defense mechanism against the stress.
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