The Q&A Archives: Mimosa tree turning yellow

Question: I planted a 7-8 foot Mimosa tree early this spring and it took off and was looking great. Now about three months later it's starting to turn yellow and the leaves are falling off. I don't know if we are watering it too much or not enough or if somthing else is going on. Any suggestions ?

Answer: If you recently planted your tree, it may be going through some transplant shock, coupled with hot summertime weather. 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 the results 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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