How to keep a camphor tree from dying? - Knowledgebase Question

Temecula, CA
Avatar for samdeon22
Question by samdeon22
April 26, 2005
I planted a camphor tree about 3-4 weeks ago and for about 3 weeks it looked healthy but during the last week about half of its leaves have turned brown and then as they dry up are falling off. The remaining green leafs are curling up. I have deep watered it several timea and the sprinkler runs on it 15 mintues a day. I have also given it several feeding with Vit. b. Is my tree worth saving at this point? The place I bought it from has a guarantee. Will new leaves grow where the leaves have fallen off? What else can I do?

Answer from NGA
April 26, 2005
It's difficult to say exactly what's wrong with your tree and whether it will snap out of it. It's not unusual for newly planted trees and shrubs to go through some transplant stress. They often lose leaves while their roots are becoming established, but in a few weeks they perk right up and replace the lost leaves. If your tree looked healthy for three weeks after transplanting, there must be something in its environment that it doesn't like. Does the soil drain quickly? Roots do not like to sit in soggy soil. It sounds as though you may be watering too often, which could be contributing to the camphor tree's stress. Most trees and shrubs require about one inch of water a week, applied slowly so it has a chance to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. The soil should be allowed to dry a bit before you apply water again. Probably the easiest way to provide water to landscape trees and shrubs is to build a basin beneath each by mounding a few inches of soil up and all around, about 12" from the trunk or main stem. To water, simply flood the basin with water, allow to drain, then flood a second time. This should concentrate the water over the rootmass and allow it to slowly percolate down. At this point, withhold any Vitamin B, and water deeply only once a week to give your tree a chance to recover and regain its strength. If the root system hasn't suffocated, the tree will regrow the lost leaves. Hope so!

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