The Q&A Archives: Small leaves on transplanted trees

Question: Due to a change in landscape design five years ago, I needed to move three Cornus floridas, each approximately 8 ft. tall. No small fete, but all have survived. However, ever since transplanting the leaves have been small each year, about 1/2 the size. At first I thought that perhaps the root system had not caught up with the canopy, but it has been five years now and the problem persists. The leaf color is good, water is adequate, the turf is 2 feet from the trunk, and since they are planted in a lawn, they get fertilized with a slow release fertilizer four times a year along with the grass. What do you suggest I do to overcome this problem?

Answer: It does sound puzzling, especially after 5 years. As long as the trees look otherwise healthy, I think the leaf size is normal for your trees in their particular growing sites. The only thing that might make a difference in the size of the leaves is a difference in exposure to sunlight in their new site. The more shade a dogwood receives, the larger the leaves produced; brighter shade or even exposure to a little more sunshine can affect the size of the leaves.

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