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Why no new leaves on young live oak?

Posted by idixierose z8b Coastal SC (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 25, 08 at 17:38

We planted a 15' live oak with a 5" trunk last fall. We're on Kiawah Island.

It lost all of its leaves when someone forgot to water the tree back in May. In early June, we started watering the tree again three days a week. It gets about 10-15 gallons of water at each watering.

The tree appears to be alive, but it has not grown new leaves.

Is this because this is not the season for live oaks to develop new leaves? Are we watering too much?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Why no new leaves on young live oak?

Hello, dixierose! Difficult question to answer. As you know, live oaks grow new leaves in the spring. Do you see any sign of new leaf bud growth? My thought would be to feed it lightly with a mycorrhizal fungus/fertilizer treatment in February, a process with which I know you are very familiar. And we both know that live oaks thrive on this treatment. Don't think you should push it too hard. Cross your fingers and wait. Doubtful that you can water too much in your sandy soil.

RE: Why no new leaves on young live oak?

If it didn't leaf out in the Spring, it's doubtful if it would leaf out in the heat of the summer. If it still seems to be alive, then don't worry. It's developing a better root system.

RE: Why no new leaves on young live oak?

Thanks, Nandina for suggesting the micorrhizal treatment.
I tend to agree with both of y'all -- keep it watered and don't push it too hard.

Yesterday I talked to a senior hort in our department. He too was inclined to water, watch and wait. He also pointed out that the tree may be under some stress from wind and also due to its location at the edge of a parking lot.

It's a handsome tree and I sure would like to see it revive itself, so I'll continue watering it regularly and generously.

For the record, the tree did have leaves last spring, but lost them when no one watered it during May. At present, the canopy has no leaves, but the twigs have greenish buds.

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