How to save a dying transplanted tree

Helping Trees Recover from Transplant Shock | Davey Blog

No matter how carefully we plant our trees, they stress out as they adjust to their new home. That’s what we arborists like to call transplant shock, which encapsulates the host of problems plants can experience after they’re planted or transplanted.

Transplant shock symptoms vary quite a bit but often make it look like your newly planted tree is dying. Debbie, a Davey blog reader from Texas, said her newly planted maples “greened up as expected in early March but now suddenly have started dropping leaves and looking dead.”

A stressed tree can surely be renewed, but how can you tell if a tree is just shocked or a lost cause? Here’s how you can identify and fix tree transplant shock.

Tree Transplant Shock Recovery

Transplant shock is tough for trees, but not anything they can’t bounce back from (as long as you catch it early and help them)! All you need to do is know the symptoms, recovery techniques and time it takes to repair trees.

Leaves Dropping After Transplant and Other Signs of Shock

Debbie’s maple trees are dropping leaves as a sign of shock. But transplant shock can look much different for your tree.

Other signs of a tree in shock include:

  • Leaf scorch
  • Brown leaf tips
  • Premature fall color
  • Stunted twig or flower growth
  • Late spring budding
  • Branch dieback

Is my tree in shock or dead?

Dead trees and trees in shock can look deceivingly similar, but there’s an easy way to tell the difference.

Pick a random twig on the tree and scratch it with your finger or a pocket knife. Do the same for a few other twigs throughout the tree. If they’re all bright green and moist underneath, viola! The tree is alive.

How to Save a “Dying” Transplanted Tree

One of the main reasons trees struggle after being planted or transplanted is because they lose a massive amount of their root system during the process. Sometimes up to 95 percent! And to make it even tougher, the roots that are left are often incredibly dry, but you can help out with that.

Here’s how to help solve that:

  • Hydrate roots with at least one inch of water each week.
  • Add a two-to-four-inch deep layer of mulch from the tree’s base to its outermost leaves. Then, pull the mulch a few inches away from the trunk. You want to avoid volcano mulching. More on that here.

If hydration doesn’t seem to be working, think back to when you first planted the tree. Was the hole the right size? It’s incredibly important for a planting hole to be 2 to 3 times the tree’s root spread and deep enough for the root flare (where the tree starts to widen) to sit slightly above ground.

While replanting the tree yet again is hitting restart on the stressful process, it’s probably the best thing for your tree if the planting spot wasn’t quite right the first time. Here’s how to fix a tree that wasn’t planted right.

How long does it take a tree to recover from transplant shock?

The last step in a successful transplant process is patience! Some trees take two or more years to get rid of all their stress symptoms. Occasionally, it can even take up to 5 years for trees to fully recover.

In most cases, it takes a year or so for trees to shake off transplant shock.

Need help saving your newly planted tree? We want to help!



  • Transplant Shock

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Leaves dropping after transplant? Not sure if your trees in shock or dead? Learn how to save a dying transplanted tree and about tree transplant shock recovery. How long does it take a tree to recover from transplant shock? All trees are different, in most cases, it takes about a year. Learn more below.

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Newly Planted Tree Leaves Turning Brown, Yellow or Wilting? | Davey Blog

Gently placed in its planting spot, sealed with soil and quenched with water–you can’t wait for your new tree to flourish!

But, after weeks of watching your tree soak in its brand-new life, you see. .. brown, yellow or wilted leaves?

When new trees have drooping or discolored leaves, there’s a problem. So, what can you do to help?

Why You’re Having Problems With Newly Planted Trees And What To Do

Adjusting to a new home is stressful for young trees. The sudden change in environment can lead to all sorts of problems, which is called transplant shock.

Transplant shock usually starts at the tree’s roots. Sometimes roots don’t have enough room to spread out or didn’t get enough water right after being planted. Whatever the case, trees wear their heart on their sleeve–or should we say their leaves. That’s why you see those wilted, yellow or brown leaves.

Is My Newly Planted Tree Dying?

You can often revive a shocked tree, but you’ll first need to make sure it’s alive and well.

  • Try bending a tree branch. If the tree’s dead, it will easily snap. Live tree twigs are nimble, so they’re flexible, bendable and much harder to break.
  • Or scratch a spot on the twig with your fingertip or a pocket knife. If the layer immediately under the bark is moist and bright green, the tree’s alive.

What To Do About Newly Planted Tree Leaves Wilting, Turning Yellow Or Browning

Trees often suffer from transplant shock because their roots don’t have enough room to establish themselves.

Shocked trees also need a little TLC to get them back on track. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Give tree roots at least one inch of water per week.
  • Apply a two-to-four-inch deep layer of mulch from the base of the tree to the drip line. Keep mulch five inches away from the trunk.
  • Don’t over prune young trees, unless it’s to remove dead or damaged branches.

If those steps don’t appear to help your tree, consider replanting the tree in a larger hole. First, read this guide about transplanting trees. If you’re unsure if your tree needs moved, ask an arborist. Replanting your tree again could shock it once more.

Learn More About How To Set Your New Tree Up For Success!



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Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

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We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

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How to reanimate an old and diseased tree: 8 tips for gardeners

It is not physically easy to remove trees, moreover, many of them are still able to please the eye and produce a crop. There are several ways to bring your favorite apple tree or thuja near the fence back to life.

1 Cut off part of the bark

Sometimes a bark beetle undermines a tree during autumn and winter, leaving cavities under the bark. The tree stops growing and seems to have died.

Try a simple manipulation: using an ordinary knife, “tap” the trunk and, where you hear an empty sound, cut the bark - most likely, there is just one of the cavities. Remove all the bark in such areas, and cover the cut with garden pitch. The tree may start to grow again.

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2 Remove extra branches

In general, pruning of extra branches should be carried out regularly, too abundant crown overloads the root system and the latter is simply unable to feed an abundant amount of fruit. All side branches need to be cut in half, get rid of old and drooping ones.

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3 Make a longitudinal furrow

The bark on the trunk should be cut from top to bottom on several sides (2-3 cuts are optimal), do the same with the branches, but leave one cut on them. Thus, you sort of weaken the contraction of the trunk and it begins to grow in breadth. The growth of new tissues will start the process of revitalizing the tree. Do not forget to cover the incision with garden pitch. It is important at this time to intensively water and feed the roots, you can pour humus into the root beds, cover it with grass and water from above.

4 Partially shorten the stem

This is especially true for apple and pear trees. The optimal trunk length is no more than two meters, so it is more convenient to harvest. It is necessary to cut down carefully, just above the upper skeletal branch, literally a couple of centimeters. Do not overdo it: if you leave a stump at the top, a hollow will form in it, and the tree will rot. Give the apple tree the shape of a bowl - inside the trunk should be empty, all branches growing inside must be removed, leaving only those framing the trunk outside.

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5 Get rid of the undergrowth

Extra growth around the tree greatly reduces yield. They require more nutrients, which are taken from the main tree. Most often, this trend can be seen in cherries - if there are fewer berries, remove all the shoots nearby. But do not rush to prune a tree - improper pruning can cause its death. There are many nuances in pruning cherries, so if you decide to update the crown, call a specialist.

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6 Do not make cardinal pruning

This can damage the tree. Form the crown gradually. For example, sweet cherry does not tolerate a radical "haircut" and instead of an updated tree, you can get a withering one. As a rule, in the case of sweet cherries, it is recommended to make two prunings: one in early spring (wrongly growing branches are removed), and the second - at the end of June (all new shoots are pruned by about a fifth of their length).

7 Do not confuse seasonal color with disease

Sometimes resuscitation is not necessary. For example, conifers often turn yellow sharply, and inexperienced gardeners take this for a burn. In fact, it may just be a seasonal color. If in doubt, try to water and feed the plant abundantly, clean out dry needles and treat with stimulants and stress medications.

8 Call a Specialist

Many nurseries have tree trimmers. If your apple orchard is in disrepair, and you have no idea what skeletal branches and furrow are, it’s better not to risk it and call the master. In order for him to better cope with his task, tell us about the age of the trees (the cost of the work also depends on this). You can determine the age by the trunk: if there is redness at the bottom, then in front of you are old-timers - trees 40-50 years old. Do not forget to lubricate all sections after trimming.

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Country house Plants

How to restore a withered tree? | Gardening

If for any reason a tree in our house starts to dry out Or because too much water has been placed on it, it is in a place where it receives a lot of sun, some liquid has fallen out , which could cause damage, lack of water, or any other reason that caused the plant to appear. in a state of drought you should follow these tips .

If you are one of those who prefer save the plant Instead of getting rid of it, in this article we will show you some solutions for restoring a dry tree or plant that is in this condition.


  • 1 How to restore a dry plant?
  • 2 How to restore a dead tree?

How to restore a dry plant?

In the case of plants planted in pots or smaller ones planted in the garden, we can start with the following.

The first thing to do is pierce the ground with a small shovel , spoon or any other utensil that can perform this function, after crossing the ground we dig fairly wide holes to let the water through, of course very carefully with the roots.

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After that, the plant must be removed from the place where it was planted, but bringing us a good piece of land with us, which we will later put inside a bucket of water keep it at medium temperature until the soil is completely damp. When we see that the soil can no longer absorb water, we take the plant out of the bucket and put it on a flat surface so that the excess drains off.

With a water spray, we spray it on every leaf of our plant, given that this is a treatment that requires a lot of patience , no need to worry about the results. To find out if the recovery has had any effect, we can observe the plant after a few days, we will notice that the stems come to life and the leaves begin to turn green.

How to restore a dead tree?

In the case of bonsai, although they are small, they are also plants considered trees but smaller.

If for some reason the bonsai is completely dry, there is a way to restore it.

The first step we need to take is to remove the leaves that could not fall off by themselves, this helps prevent moisture loss. After that, we must completely submerge the bonsai pot in water for about half an hour, after this time we take the tree out of the water and put it in an inclined position so that remove the excess of this and finally we place the bonsai with everything else and the pot in a clear plastic bag and close it.

Learn more