Stressed Desert Willow

GardenNovice(z7TX)July 14, 2003

I planted a desert willow last year with the intention of letting it grow to a small tree. It grew quickly last year and bloomed like crazy - the more I watered it, the more it bloomed.

This year, it's been slow to bloom, leaves are turning yellow and dropping although it's putting out seed pods. I've planted some flowers in the same bed and the tree gets watered and fed along with them.

Any ideas?

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"I've planted some flowers in the same bed and the tree gets watered and fed along with them."

Probably too much water, too shallow watering, and too often. Desert willows need deep infrequent soakings. They also don't like much fertilizer.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 12:47PM
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TXmel(z7 CrowleyTX)

I am having the same problem. My chilopsis has been planted for at least 3 years. Usually it is lush and full of blooms. I think our record-setting rainfall in June is the reason. They don't like much water, and it got too much in June. I was starting to wonder if it needed fertilizer or something. It is about 15 ft tall and I would hate to lose it now!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 5:09PM
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By all means leave out the fertilizer ... and I agree check your soil moisture.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2004 at 6:18PM
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patsy_b(z8 Tx)

I have noticed some that are in my area that have been beautiful in years past. They do not look good this year. Lots of brown leaves and not blooming as they should. I would suspect it is caused by all the early rain we had and then suddenly no rain at all. I only have a small one that I planted last year and it is doing fine. It is planted in unimproved soil and not watered.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 4:42AM
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I agree - everything is stressed right now, even the desert plants. My Desert Willow seems to be just conserving energy at this point, but I have had it for six years and know that as soon as the weather cools its leaves will come back and the flowers will start up again. I have been told not to fertilize anything this time of year - it encourages growth, which just ends up getting burned up. Let it go dormant for a bit. I give it a good 4-6 hours of watering every month, seems to work.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 8:14PM
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I normally don't frequent this forum, but have to chime in that our two desert willows did not bloom at all this year and look less than healthy. I also noticed the ones where I worked don't look good either.--Lots of brown leaves. Thanks for this post.--It answers my questions as well.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 10:40PM
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judy_38(Dewey, az 86327)

My willows were planted last year, the one on the north of the house side is blooming, the one out in the sw sun wilts every time I look at it Can't seem to water anything out there enough. Have two Lady banks roses, the one on the west is OK, on the east it looks dead. The only things that are doing well are Yuccas, and rosemary

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 11:13PM
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If your Willows are in a xeriscape watered with drip emitters make sure to check that enough water is really getting to the root zone ... it is very easy for water to get soaked up by the upper level soil and never enet the soil surrounding the trees roots ... deep watering with a hose is very helpful during summer make some aeration holes into the root zone with a digging bar before watering.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 12:04AM
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I have a small one I planted this spring. It's doing well and is beginning to bloom.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 9:14PM
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Hello! I have a 2yr old desert willow that has been beautiful since the day we planted it! It's planted on the southwest corner of our home, in the flower bed but not real close to any of the sprinklers. We haven't changed our watering patterns at all but I noticed today that it has dropped a bunch of leaves (from the lower branches) and some of the remaining have brown spots on them. I observed small bugs (ants?) crawling along the trunk and the trunk and bark have split in places and look almost burned. I am in north central TX (north of Dallas) and its been over 100 degrees for the past few days, but it survived a much hotter summer last year.... Any thoughts? Oh, and we got a new weed/fertilization service that comes quarterly now. IF they have fertilized this tree, could that cause problems like this? Will try to post pics later if it would help. TIA!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:30PM
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It is always super hot here in the summer, well over 100 degrees daily. I have desert willows in one bed that gets watered by sprinklers once a week in the summer and I also have desert willows in other places on the property that only get it when Im willing to brave the heat with a hose (about once a month). None of mine receive extra fertilizer, yet I have absolutely none of the problems mentioned in this thread...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 6:57AM
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This summer has seemed hotter and dryer to me than usual, however my desert willow I dug up and transplanted this winter seems to be happier than ever despite the move - it is actually thriving. I've basically neglected it entirely except for throwing the garden hose on it when I remember to. Its also on a west facing brick wall and has tons of little black ants on it. Go figure.

This leads me to wager a guess yours may be over watered? Is it new leaves that are yellowing or the old ones?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:10PM
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naheath(7b TX)

Our desert willow also has some yellowing leaves with dark spots. I sprayed it with a fungicide. Would that possibly help? I am going to take a sample in to our local nursery today as I am worried that may not help it and hopefully won't harm it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:13AM
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