The Q&A Archives: Dead Leaves

Question: I recently purchased and planted a snow fountain weeping cherry tree. It was doing fine for several weeks then the weather got very hot for two days and all the leaves turned brown and died. The limbs are still green inside. Will the leaves return next year or even this year.

Answer: Based on your description I am not certain what has happened to your tree. A sudden wilting like that can signal that the tree has died, or it may be the result of heat and drought stress due to poor rooting and/or to dry soil. If it is still alive it might recover and releaf this summer. Overall though this is really not good and does not bode well. I would suggest you consult with your local retailer and/or county extension to see if they can determine what has happened. Based on knowing that, you can decide how to proceed.

In the meantime, the soil should be kept slightly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet or saturated. To know if you need to water, use your finger to dig into the soil (check both original root ball and surrounding soil) and feel it. If it is still damp you do not need to water. When you do water, apply it slowly at the roots and make sure it soaks down deep to encourage deep rooting. Good luck with your tree.

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