The Q&A Archives: silver leaf maple

Question: We bought two from H. D. in early summer. Both got leaves; then turned black and then fell off. We've moved both and they are struggling. we've added iron to soil per H.D. recommendation. Their tags said full sun - could that be the problem?

Answer: The silver maple is an adaptable grower that thrives in a wide array of conditions, growing about as well in poor soils as in good garden soils. Like most big trees, it should have at least six hours of sunlight, but otherwise will grow almost without problem. Once established it has good drought tolerance. I'm not sure what's going on with your new trees. If the weather has been really hot, your trees can simply be showing symptoms of heat stress coupled with transplant stress. It takes weeks to months for the roots to re-establish once transplanted and during that time they can look wilted or even drop their leaves. That's why we recommend planting in early spring or fall, when temperatures are cooler. You didn't mention how often you are watering. I'd suggest making a watering basin or watering well beneath each tree by mounding 2-3 inches of soil in a circle all around the tree, about 12" out from the trunk. Fill this basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Do this once each week. Watering in this way will concentrate the moisture over the root mass and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root system. Give your trees a little more time to establish themselves. They should leaf out well for you next spring. If they do not, you may want to have them replaced (there's a one year warranty). Best wishes with your maples!

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