Weeping Cherry Has Small Leaves


I planted a weeping cherry tree a couple of months ago. Since then the leaves have not grown a bit. They are very small and they don't look healthy.




Hi Jilla,

What you are describing sounds an awful lot like transplant shock. It's not uncommon for young trees to take an entire season to settle in and recover after you plant them. This is especially true in the case of potted trees, because their roots tend to be balled up from being kept in pots. It takes some time for the roots to venture out into garden soil and become established. Once they do, you should start to see some new growth in regards to leaves.

You can help your cherry tree settle in by making sure it is getting enough water. If Mother Nature doesn't provide it with a soaking rain once a week (1 to 2 inches), you are going to have to pitch in and help. Five to ten gallons of water once a week should be sufficient for most young trees. To help conserve moisture, extend a layer of mulch 3-4 inches thick, out 6 to 8 inches from the trunk (leave at least 1 inch of space between the mulch and the trunk). Skip fertilizing until next season.


As long as your weeping cherry still has leaves (even small leaves that appear to be in limbo), your tree will likely recover just fine. You may even see a few lost leaves before it's all over. If you start to see significant leaf loss, you might want to contact the nursery where you purchased it and inquire about their replacement policy. It's also a good idea to keep your receipts and document the tree's appearance with a few photos.


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June 17, 2008 Flag
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Q: We relocated a 10-12 ft weeping cherry tree about a month or so ago. It did have buds when it was moved, and they did bloom, but they weren't covering every branch. Now, it has leaves, but they are TINY and also not around every branch. I did edge and mulch around the tree recently, thinking it would help to keep moisture in. The tree recieves full sun, and the soil is well drained. Is my tree dying?


Hardiness Zone: 6a

Rebecca Knepp from Limerick, PA



It sounds to me like your tree is suffering from a good case of transplant shock, especially if you moved it while the buds were developing. All you can really do now is take a wait-and-see approach, keep it on a regular schedule of watering (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches once a week at a slow trickle), and cross your finger it recovers. Don't fertilize it. At this point fertilizing can cause it more harm than good. Hopefully you didn't fertilize it when you transplanted it. I made this mistake once with a sugar maple I planted. I mixed in too much compost and manure when back-filling the hole I planted it in and I ended up burning a lot of the roots. I didn't see how extensively the roots had been damaged until the following spring when half of the tree failed to leaf out and the other half sprouted tiny little leaves. It was a $250.00 tree, and fortunately for me, it recovered. It's early in the summer and your tree has plenty of time to recover and establish itself. It will probably send out new leaves before too long. The true test, I'm afraid, won't come until next spring.

Good luck!

More Answers:

Weeping Cherry Has Small Leaves

Sounds like your tree went into shock which is not uncommon. The thing is I don't think you should have moved it when there were buds on it. Same way with pruning--not after it starts to bud. We moved about 60---13 year old pine trees several years ago and my husband took extra special care of them. He got a root feeder at the hardware which really didn't cost all that much. You put these large fertilizer pellets in it and hook it to your hose. Putting the root feeder in the ground where you think the roots are ending under the ground. It really helped ours but we did the transplanting in October. The fall is the best time of year to do any transplanting of bushes, trees, and bulb plants. Be careful to follow the instructions for the root feeding so you don't over-fertilize. I sure hope your tree makes it as they are a beautiful addition to any landscape. Good luck. (06/11/2006)

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