The Q&A Archives: Black spots on Pear Tree

Question: We bought a pear tree from our local Home Depot last week, and followed the directions on the tag for planting it.

We have now noticed that almost all of the leaves on the top of the tree are shriveling up, and turning black, and now there are black spots on some of the lower leaves as well. We asked the garden people at Home Depot tonight about it, but they had no answers.

Any ideas as to what it could be, and should we return it to the store for another tree?

Thank you!

Answer: A newly transplanted tree can go through a stressful period until the roots become well established. I think in this case what you are seeing is dessication of the leaves. Warm days following cool nights, especially when combined with spring winds, can cause rapid desiccation of the leaves. The leaf margin is the most likely injured part of the leaf. This desiccation can occur even if the soil has adequate moisture because the wind can draw water from the leaves faster than the tree can move it from the soil into the leaves. Newly transplanted trees, with limited root systems, and those which have just begun rapid growth after a couple of years establishment following transplanting may be the most likely to show the symptoms. However, under the right conditions this spring wind desiccation injury can occur in larger trees as well.

As long as the tree appears to be otherwise healthy, there should be little to worry about. The tree will probably replace the lost leaves later in the season.

Best wishes with your new pear tree!

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