HAVE enclosed some leaves of my two Michelia doltsopa trees
which I planted in July in remembrance of my mother. Some of their
older leaves are yellowing and dropping off, though there's new
growth which is green and healthy. The soil here is stony and hard,
but I've kept them well watered, fed with Osmocote at planting and
given them a weekly feed with liquid Thrive. We get a lot of wind
- could this be the problem? I also wonder about the wooden stakes
I used to stabilise them. I bought them at the garden centre, but
I wonder if there's some treatment in the wood that may affect the
leaves you sent showed no signs of pest or disease, so it looks
as if the michelias are just taking time to settle in and recover
fully from being planted out, which is quite common for this species.
Many evergreen trees
do lose a few leaves after planting, particularly if the site is
windy and the soil poor, as it is in your case. Also worth bearing
in mind is that many evergreens, including michelias, will lose
some leaves as part of their normal annual cycle.
You're doing the right
thing with watering - make sure to keep it up over summer and apply
a mulch, such as pea straw or bark, around them to help keep the
moisture in. I also recommend cutting back on the liquid fertiliser
until they have established a really good root system, which could
take another six months or so. The aim at this stage is to encourage
root growth rather than soft top growth.
The stakes should not
cause a problem. Timber treatments only rarely affect plant growth.
But make sure to check the stakes don't rub against the trees in
a strong wind.
Gardener, Issue 187, 2005, Page 33
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.