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Acer tree, transplant issues. Leaf scorch?


Due to building work we had no choice but to move a 5ft tall but quite slim acer tree. it was previously in a pot but over some years the roots had broken through, so was essentially half in the ground with some root spread.

I dug it out as best as possible and repotted in a larger pot. After 1 week I noticed the leaves were curling at the edges and not looking too healthy and a few days later they all fell off.

Is this leaf scorch from transplanting? Anything I can/should be doing to help it?



  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    It might be natural autumn behaviour,did you use ericacious compost,water well,but don't let the roots stand in wet compost.(did you give it a good watering before digging up?) Give it a spot,if possible sheltered from either heavy wind or sun.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Are you in the UK?
    When did you move it?
    How carefully did you remove the pot it was in?

    All these are factors in how successful a move would be, as well as the points made by @Nanny Beach re watering before and after, and the growing medium, which needs to be soil based, unless it's only going to be in the pot for a short while. Compost on it's own is no use long term, for shrubs of any kind. 
    Leaf scorch doesn't happen because it's been moved - wind/sun, and the subsequent  dehydration causes that, but larger specimens like yours are always more susceptible to being transplanted, and will shed foliage to try and reduce stress.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    Oooh, well done Fairy,I was making various assumptions!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    I just couldn't make my mind up about the timing @Nanny Beach  :)

    If it was moved in summer, it could simply be autumn conditions, as you say, but if @myrkur85FpaL-Ht1 can give us more info, and a photo or two, it'll help us with further advice. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hi, sorry for the late reply and thanks for your comments and info :)

    I'm UK, south coast. It was moved 2 weeks ago so already quite cold/wet conditions though I don't think many leaves had fallen for the time of year before moving.
    Because it had well outgrown the old pot (the roots had broken through and was partially in ground) I had to carefully break the rest of the pot it was in but it came away easily. 

    Yes it did get an extra water before/after and it's been raining quite a bit but the pot should have ok drainage. We've had some high and cold winds since then so it probably took a bit of a beating, it's fairly sheltered where it is now but I could improve on this slightly re sun/wind.

    I didn't use any ericacious compost/growing medium - have to hold my hands up and say I know almost 0 about plants/repotting and things were a bit chaotic to move this tree in time, I probably didn't go about this the way I should have. I tried to do it very carefully and keep as much of the roots and root ball attached with the soil it was in.

    With that in mind, should keep it in a well sheltered spot and hope it comes back ok next year or consider repotting and using the proper medium? Or anything else I could do in situ? The goal is for it to remain in this large pot rather than in ground.

    Thanks for your help :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    They really don't need ericaceous soil. They're perfectly happy in neutral soil as long as it isn't at the alkaline end.  :)
    Keep it sheltered, and it should be fine. If it came out of the old pot fairly easily, and you had a decent rootball on it, it has a good chance of recovering and growing well.
    The leaf drop will be mostly down to it being transplanted, but also due to time of year, so again - it's not necessarily a problem at all. No Acers here have foliage on them by mid November/December, so it's just that you're in a milder area.  :)
    As long as it hasn't been bone dry for a long time, and it has good drainage in the new pot, it will be moist enough until spring - again depending on your climate, but it shouldn't dry out readily if it's in a shady spot, and has enough moisture through winter. The advantage of pots is that you can move them according to conditions too.
    It's important to keep them moist enough when in pots, so spring onwards is when you need to be vigilant. Top dressing with a layer of bark or similar will help retain moisture during drier spells. Other than that, they need very little attention, and as long as the top layer of soil is refreshed each year, they don't really need any other food.
    If you like, you can use some liquid seaweed now and again when you water in spring/summer, but it isn't really necessary. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks so much for all the info, I'll keep it sheltered and make sure it doesn't dry out going into next year. Fingers crossed it does ok, I didn't have a lot of luck last time I moved a large plant so was a bit worried to see all the leaves curl and drop straight after, but as you say it is also that time of year.

    Thanks again :)
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    Just being nosy, wondering where you live?
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