The Q&A Archives: Over watered Gingko?

Question: We planted a ginkgo biloba tree early this year (February) and it had been doing very well. The tree gets full sun. It is planted in the middle of the lawn at the north east side of our house. The sprinklers is set to water the lawn for 5 days week at 7 minute intervals (I don't know why it is set this way). Recently the leaves began turn yellow. Thinking it was not getting enough water, my husband deep watered the tree. The leaves are beginning to fall off. Is this a sign of overwatering? Is there any intervention I need to do? Will the tree die?

Answer: Ginkgo trees are tolerant of drought, but they should be watered regularly while they are young. If the soil doesn't drain well, it can suffocate the roots. Ginkgo are also subject to chlorosis if your soil is alkaline; chlorosis will turn the leaves yellow, but they typically will have a deep green fan pattern within the yellow leaves. If the foliage is falling off without turning yellow first, it is a sign of root stress or of heat stress. If your weather has been reasonable for the season, suspect root problems - over-watering or lack of adequate drainage. The way your sprinkler system is set is probably okay for your lawn but it may be supplying too much too often to your tree. If there is a way to reset the sprinkler that's delivering water to your tree, I'd reset it and then water by hand (deeply once each week). Best wishes with your ginkgo tree!

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