Issue: September 20, 1999

New Shumard Oak not looking good


I have a Shumard Red Oak that I planted in my back yard in the spring of 1999. It seems to be doing okay, except that the edges of some of the older leaves are brown, and they seem "tattered". I was wondering if this is normal and if not, how I might fix it.


I will do my best to help without seeing the leaves. There are a couple of possible answers.

First, it takes a few years for a transplanted tree to reestablish its root system since much of the root system is lost as the tree is transplanted. So, some leaf drying is expected the first couple of years. I suspect that is part of the problem. Be sure to water once every one to two weeks (depends on your soil type) unless you have slow soaking rains, then don't water at all. Don't overwater and thereby drown the roots.

A second consideration is that the tattering may be due to wind damage, hail, or insects. It is impossible to determine which without seeing the leaves.

You may find that it is helpful to take a sample of the leaves to your local Cooperative Extension Service office to have the symptoms diagnosed and, if necessary, a treatment strategy recommended. The Extension Agent can also advise you as to any potential soil problems which might be contributing to problems.

Chinese Pistache tree leaves droopy


We have a Chinese Pistache in our front yard. It was planted June of 1998 and seems to be growing and doing well. Its leaves are a little "droopy" though and I was wondering if this is normal or what might cause this? They just seem to be curling a little from the stem? I would really appreciate your helping me if you can.


Summer heat may be a contributing factor, especially since this tree has not had time to become fully established, replacing roots lost during transplanting. The information mentioned in the answer to the Red Oak tree problem apply here as it can take two or more years for a tree to become established in a landscape. The time required for establishment depends on condition of the tree at the time of planting, use of proper planting techniques, environment, and the size of the tree which was transplanted. Smaller trees establish and begin growing more rapidly than the "instant landscape" larger trees. In fact, in ten years the smaller tree may have caught up with and surpassed the tree which was larger at planting time.

Also newly planted trees benefit from the application of bark mulch or other good mulching material while it is becoming established in the landscape. The mulch helps maintain even soil temperatures and moisture, and helps prevent injury from lawnmowers and string weed trimmers.

Again I suggest that you contact your local Extension Service office, the county agent or a Master Gardener volunteer associated with the Extension Service will be able to provide you with specific, local, advice.