Question: Hello,

I have a false chestnut tree and it seems to be struggling since planting three years ago. The foliage is rather barren with numerous dead branches. I suspect either the hot arid climate or soil ph is too blame. The tree receives full sun and regular watering in Temecula CA (North of San Diego County). Any hints on helping this tree thrive would be appreciated.

Can provide pic if that is helpful


Answer: Castanopsis cuspidata 'Shogun' is rated for heat tolerance and should be suitable for your growing area. I suspect poor performance is due to soil problems. If your tree receives water on a regular basis, and the soil drains well, it should develop new growth each spring. If it is not growing, it may need fertilizing, or the soil's pH is very much out of whack. To be on the safe side, why not have your soil tested? Your Copper False Chestnut is tolerant of a wide variety of soils, but pH in the neutral range would be ideal. In your neck of the woods, the soil is probably quite alkaline, which may be binding up nutrients, making them unavailable to the tree roots. You can get a soil sample test container from your local Cooperative Extension office. Take the soil sample as directed in the kit and then mail it to the University of California. There may be a fee involved, but it's usually minimal. The results will include recommendations for fertilizing or amending the soil.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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