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Drake elm

Q: I recently transplanted three small Drake Elm trees. They are not doing well. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Q: I hope you can help me.  I recently transplanted three small Drake Elm trees that came up in my mother’s flower beds from an older established Drake Elm she has in her yard.  The small trees had already started sprouting leaves when they were transplanted.  After about a week of transplant the new leaves started drying up and eventually fell off.  It’s been approximately 6 weeks since the transplanting took place.  The trees only have about 3 to 4 very small leaves on them; the bark is green at the base and at the tips of the branches.  The questions are: Did the trees go through a shock? Will new leaves grow eventually? Should I use any root stimulator or fertilizer to promote leaf growth? How long should I wait before I consider them defeated? Your help is greatly appreciated!

A: The trees may have indeed gone through a shock, however since the tree bark and branches are still green, the leaves may eventually return.  The most important thing about transplanting trees or shrubs is to water them.  Hopefully you have been watering the shrubs for the last 6 weeks, if not, then some root damage has probably already occurred. I would discourage you from using any fertilizer or soil amendments.  Right now the focus and energy of the plant should be on developing roots and water is the best way to ensure that.  Of course over-watering can cause problems too.  I have attached Dr. Ed Gilman’s website, professor from University of Florida, which discusses transplanting of trees and shrubs – that information should help you get your elms back on track. Click on any of the links and get more specific information. Be sure to check out the irrigation info since it tells of how much water is needed depending on how large the tree is.  Good luck.