apple trees losing leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Charlotte, No
Avatar for aseifer
Question by aseifer
July 10, 2010
I bought a gala and a granny smith tree from Home Depot. almost immediately, the gala tree lost all its leaves. The store had someone bring out another gala tree and plant it for me. the new one has now lost many leaves and ones that remain have somewhat yellow tinge to them. some branches have no leaves at all and no new growth, unlike the granny smith. not sure why this keeps happening.

Answer from NGA
July 10, 2010
Water stress is the most likely cause. Newly planted trees can go through a stressful adjustment period, especially when planted during hot weather. It's always best to plant fruit trees in the winter when they are dormant. This way the roots can establish before the tree begins to develop foliage and flowers and will have the reserved energy to adjust to their new homes. It's important to water regularly but if your soil is clay, water may not be draining quickly enough and can actually suffocate the roots when all the oxygen is driven out. At this point I'd build a watering basin beneath each plant by mounding up some soil all around (about 12" away from the trunk). Fill the basin, allow to drain, then fill a second time. Watering in this way will concentrate the water directly over the rootmass and allow it to trickle down and wet the entire root system. Water once each week. While your trees may lose their leaves, the roots should remain healthy and happy and your trees should leaf out either later in the summer or early next spring. Good luck with your apple trees.

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