The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves on Mimosa

Question: I planted a mimosa tree this spring and some of the leaves are turning yellow. I have been watering it 2-3 times a week. The temperature has been in the 90's here in Grand Junction. What am I doing wrong to make the leaves turn yellow? The tree seems to be green along with most of the leaves.

Answer: If you just planted your tree, it's probably going through some transplant shock, coupled with extremely hot conditions. Each time you water, the drier surrounding soil will wick that moisture away. This means you do need to be very careful about watering. It is possible that the watering you have been doing has not really been soaking the entire rootball plus some of the surrounding soil -- roots will not grow into dry soil so you need to make sure that both are moist. There is no rule of thumb I can give you on watering, it is a matter of trial and error to some extent. You should water, wait a few hours, then dig down and see how effective your watering was (or wasn't) since it can be surprising. Then, in order to tell if and when you need to water again, dig down into the soil with your finger and see. Your goal is to keep the soil evenly moist, but not sopping wet. Typically trees need careful watering the first year or two, then watering in dry spells for the next several years. In severe drought conditions, even established trees may need supplemental watering, so this is not really so much to ask when you think of the decades of enjoyment a tree can provide. Try watering deeply on a regular basis and see if your tree doesn't perk up within a few weeks. Good luck with your tree.

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