Yellowing/browning leaves on False Cypress Mr Green Genes - Knowledgebase Question

Chicago, Il
Avatar for anechkap
Question by anechkap
October 26, 2010
The tree is 5' tall. I planted it in July and watered vigorously (almost every day) until September when I had to be out of town for two weeks. Someone was supposed to water it while I was away. Upon return, I noticed some yellowing of the bottom branches. It has expanded and turned brown to cover the lower third of the tree branches. What's wrong with it? I can provide pictures. Thanks. Anna

Answer from NGA
October 26, 2010
Although I know you've been giving your tree the best possible care, you may have contributed to the yellowing foliage by watering so frequently. By watering everyday you've kept the roots close to the surface and they relied on the daily dose of water. When that didn't happen, the roots dried out. Landscape trees and shrubs need a deep soaking once a week (twice if the weather is really hot). Applying water slowly allows it to trickle down and wet the entire root mass, forcing deep root growth and a better tolerance of droughty conditions. It's possible your false cypress will recover and outgrow the bare lower branches. Now that the weather is getting cooler, it won't be growing very fast and it won't need quite as much water. Try making a watering basin or watering well beneath the cypress by digging out a few inches of soil and mounding it up around the tree, about 12 inches from the trunk. Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill a second time. Once a week should do it. Watering in this manner will concentrate the moisture directly over the root mass and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root system and encourging deep growth. I think you'll see new growth next spring. At that time you can prune off any dead branches on the lower part of the tree. Good luck with Mr. Green Genes!

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