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Red Oak transplant - tiny, tiny leaves

Posted by Slatemen MD (My Page) on
Thu, May 16, 13 at 15:00

I can’t seem to post to the trees forum, so I’m going to try here. In mid-March, I planted large-ish Red Oak (15’ tall / 2-3 inch trunk) purchase from a reputable nursery. It was admittedly large for a transplant, but I’m hoping to block out a second story view from a new neighbor into my yard.
Since that time I’ve tended to the tree as carefully as I can, watering thoroughly every other day with a bit of fertilizer (but nothing too intense) from time to time. It’s been mulched and staked.

In late April tiny leaves began to appear at the tips of the branches. However, a month has gone by and while I have plenty of these tiny, tiny leaves on tips of each branch and a few on the length of the branches, the leaves have not grown to a normal size. The leaves themselves are still green and healthy looking and other shoots are appearing here and there, but they look like something you’d see on a bonzi tree. Other, mature Red oaks in the area seem to have all of their full sized leaves at this point.

I planted a similar sized Sycamore and Red Maple at the same time, both of which have developed normally. A nearby Swamp White Oak, which must be no older than 1 year (about 9 inches tall), has about a dozen full sized leaves on it.

The nursery tells me not to worry, but I’d like a second opinion. Should I be worried, or are teeny, tiny leaves a symptom of the transplant process.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Red Oak transplant - tiny, tiny leaves

This sounds like a case of transplant shock which in part may have been caused by putting in an oversized tree. I doubt all the roots originally grown came with the tree and it may take one or more years for the tree to adjust and compensate. At least, if the growth isn't scorched looking and is only dwarfed, it sounds like the care you are giving is adequate. I think you just need to wait this out. You know, red oaks are very fast growing. You probably could have opted for a smaller tree and gotten the results you wanted for screening rather quickly.

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