Desert Museum Palo verde Dying

chezronAugust 23, 2014

I live in La Mesa, Ca. It is inland a little and pretty hot. My soil is fast-draining sandy loam. I have a Palo verde x 'Desert Museum' in the ground for 3 years. It is in mostly full sun and has grown a lot. The caliper is 3". It has never been without leaves until now. It bloomed for a long time this spring and summer and about a month ago I noticed it had dropped all its leaves. Someone suggested I water it deeply and slowly as it has deep roots, so I did. Now, not only are the leaves gone, but some of the small branches are browning as well. I don't want to lose this tree. I thought maybe it had gophers eating the roots, but the tree seems really stable. What is wrong?

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This tree can lose its leaves during drought without harm to the tree. Don't overwater or you can cause root rot. Watering deeply once a month in the summer. If the soil is moist and the branches are still browning, stop watering. Be sure the mulch is not too close to the trunk.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:23PM
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OOPs on the watering. i will stop. Thanks Lgteacher! i hope I haven't killed it. I love this tree!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:49PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You haven't noticed any fresh growth since the deep watering? In well drained soil with hot summers, once a month deep watering shouldn't hurt it. If the soil isn't well draining and stays too wet, that could be a problem, but even more so in cooler weather of winter.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:02PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

dig a bit around it and see how wet the soil is before watering again.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:32PM
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I just lost the very same tree. I live in Arizona and ours didn't bloom this year so we checked it out. Same issues as yours, we lost all the leaves and the ends of branches were turning brown. Then we noticed that the usually green trunks were turning gray. It was a boring type bug. It is coming down now off it's own, because it looks to be dead. We did ask around to experts, there is no help for it. So sorry. I was so sad to lose my tree, it's so pretty in spring with all the flowers. Ours was well over 12 years old. I wish I could give you some advice to save it, but we were told there is nothing to help.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:47PM
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I wonder if it could be the shot hole borer (hope not). LA Times had a good article but I cannot link it. Check it out.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 6:53PM
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This post was edited by socks12345 on Tue, Aug 26, 14 at 18:55

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Borers are a possibility. I looked at the tree today and the main trunk and all the main branches (except one small one) are still green. I would imagine with borers the vascular system would get clogged and the whole tree would be brown. What do you think? It is just weird because it lost all of its leaves so fast. I really don't think my watering was any different. The other plants around the tree are fine: succulents, Hibiscus, Calliandra.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 7:01PM
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I think I watered incorrectly and I have root rot of some kind. Do you know the symptoms of root rot?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 11:40AM
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