The Q&A Archives: Tea Tree

Question: I have a 3 years old tea tree that was blooming beautifully this spring. Now after the flowering season is over, I notice the leaves are drying up. Is the tree dying? Can It be saved?

Answer: Melaleuca alternifolia is the tea tree and it grows best in full sunshine in well draining soils. It requires lots of water during the hottest months of the year. It sounds as though your plant got through the winter okay (as evidenced by its flowering) so I suspect the problem is soil related. I'd water it thoroughly and deeply once a week and prune it back by about a third. This will encourage healthy new growth. To water deeply, try making a watering well or watering basin directly beneath your tea tree by mounding up a few inches of soil in a circle all around your tree, about 12" out from the trunk or main stems. Fill this basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Watering in this way will concentrate the water directly over the root system and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root mass.

Hope your tea tree perks up soon!

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