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Cherry tree with sparse leaves

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice about lack of leaves! We planted a prunus accolade just over a year ago and also an amelanchier lamarckii at the same time. This year it blossomed beautifully but when the leaves came in they are very sparse, especially on the lower branches. I don’t think it looks like it is happy but I haven’t been able to find anything about this problem online. I’m attaching some pictures. There are a few leaves at the end of the branches but not much. the top looks ok though and has more leaves. It was like this last year too but everyone said I was worrying too much! We bought it when it was in blossom so we only saw the leaves once it was planted. 

Many thanks for any advice! 


  • Janie BJanie B LincolnshirePosts: 834
    Not sure if it's the same problem as yours, but our newly planted cherry's leaves were totally scarfed overnight by the pesky pigeons... grrrrrr..... 
  • Wow! Really? I haven’t seen any pigeons on ours - I think they’d snap the branches 😂
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 599
    Could it be a lack of water problem? It has been bone-dry for months, and it is quite a large tree to get established.
  • I’ve only watered once this year once it had blossoms. I’m always worried about overwatering as our soil is quite sticky - and clay like. But maybe I’ve gone too far the other way!! If I water more would the leaves start coming again if this is the problem or is it too late? In retrospect we should have picked a smaller tree to get established I think but it’s all new to me at this point. 
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 599
    Hmm, I think that might be the problem! I don't know where you are, but here we've had virtually no rain this year. I am not an expert on trees, but my instinct would be to water it very generously (several gallons) once a week (?) for the rest of the summer. Not sure if more leaves will appear, but the key aim needs to be to get the roots really going, so that next year, it is really well established. What you need to avoid is a little dribble of water every day as this will encourage shallow roots.

    I would do the same with your Amelanchier as well.

    Hopefully someone with experience of trees will advise further!

    PS I know some people bury an upside-down plastic drinks bottle with the bottom cut off, and use that to water, to get the water as far down as possible
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,430
    I would leave a hose at a steady trickle over the root area every day for at least an hour a day for around ten days, unless you get an absolute downpour... the same for an amelanchier.  Then give each two buckets full of water (poured slowly over the root area) three times a week from now until leaf-fall.  
    Do the same next year, starting in March unless you get a ridiculously wet winter.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thanks for both of your replies! I think I was so worried about over watering I’ve gone completely the other way! I’ve just given them about 20 gallons (4 watering cans) slowly but I’ll switch to your suggestion starting tomorrow. We are in Bristol and we’ve had some rain but not much. The soil is not really full on clay but it is heavy which is why I tended to water less. Do you think I should feed them with anything also? Thanks again 
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 599
    Thanks @Dovefromabove - I'm slowly learning!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,430
    Don't feed a struggling plant ... it's like giving a full Christmas Dinner plus pudding and brandy butter to an invalid ... it's too rich and they'll struggle even more.  Get the roots well established and then they can absorb the feed and moisture ... next spring I'd give the root area a good sprinkle of Fish, Blood & Bone (and water it well in of course  ;))
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Oh dear. I did feed them both a while ago - maybe a month I can’t remember - when there was a warm stretch. I think it was before the blossom. I scattered fish, blood and bone and watered it in and then put new mulch down 😵‍💫
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