The Q&A Archives: Problem with Salix integra

Question: I recently, about 3 weeks ago, planted 3 Salix integra's in an area that receives mostly sun, but is in partial shade part of the mid-day. The plants were about 14-18 inches tall. At first they thrived very well, but this week they are beginning to look puny. They had plenty of leaves and looked beautiful when planted. However, the stems now look ragged and leaves are brittle and dropping. The leaves looked as though they were drying out, but when I checked the soil it is quite damp. I hand water them daily to keep it moist, but am afraid I'm watering too much. I really love this plant and want to add more to our apartment grounds, but do not have any clue as to why they are starting to look so bad. Can you help with this problem?

Answer: It's normal for newly installed plants to go through an adjustment period. While their roots are becoming established, leaves can wilt, turn yellow and even drop. But, by the end of 3 weeks, they should be perking up. Although Salix loves water, I think it's important that you allow the soil to dry out between waterings so the roots get their oxygen requirements. Try watering deeply only once or twice a week rather than watering on a daily basis. This will allow the soil to be saturated and then to dry out enough to restore the needed oxygen between the soil particles. I suspect it will take another 2-3 weeks for your Salix to begin to perk up. Best wishes with them!

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