Ginko tree dropping leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Clayton, NC
Question by robynshoemak
July 3, 2006
I have a Ginko tree that I planted 3 years ago. It took about two years for it to become established. This spring it put out beautiful, large foliage; however, the leaves are now beginning to turn yellow and drop. We have had one of the wettest Junes on record, so I am wondering if the tree is being over-watered? Is there any other reason for the tree to lose it's leaves so soon in the summer?


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Answer from NGA
July 3, 2006

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Yellowing and dropping foliage can certainly indicate overwatering. Premature fall color can also indicate stress -- such as drought stress. In this case I would suspect overwatering, especially if it is in a low spot or growing in a slow draining, heavy, clay soil. Sometimes trees will defoliate due to flooding and then actually recover, so there is not much to do but wait and see. Some gardeners will try to open air passages to the roots to counter the water's exclusion of oxygen by poking holes in the soil. You can do this by digging straight down with a garden fork over the root area of the tree (extending beyond the branch spread). The difficulty in doing this is that walking on wet soil increases compaction so it might be counterproductive. You might also check with your local county extension to make sure they are not aware of any pest or disease isssues affecting this type of tree in your local area this year. I hope your tree recovers.

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