The Q&A Archives: Yellowing leaves on Redbud

Question: We planted a Redbud Tree (the one with purple leaves) about two weeks ago and watered it several time in the first week because the leaves looked droopy. We also got quite a bit of rain during this time. I now notice the many of the leaves on the branches closest to the trunk are turning yellow. Your diagnoses? Could it be too much water?

Answer: Probably too much water, but also I suspect transplant shock. I know when a tree or shrub looks wilty that our first thought is that they need water, but that isn't necessarily the case. When trees and shrubs are transplanted they need some time to adjust to their new surroundings - not just the soil, but the air temperature and exposure to sun. During this adjustment period you can expect wilting, yellowing and dropping leaves. Once the roots become established, your redbud should perk right up. It's important not to overwater. When soils are soggy, air is driven out and roots need air as well as moisture. Without oxygen they can suffocate. While you can't control the rain, you can control the amount of water you give your redbud. One deep soaking once a week is all your redbud needs. An easy way to water is to make a watering well or basin under your new redbud. Simply mound up a few inches of soil, encircling the tree, about 12" from the trunk. When it's time to water, fill the basin, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. This method of watering concentrates the moisture over the root system, allowing it to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. Once a week is all your redbud should need.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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