This spring, I planted a weeping willow tree (salix x) in my yard, in an attempt to help dry things out. I'd heard they love wet conditions, and can grow up to 8' a year. Well, it has been almost two months, and my tree has not grown. It has turned yellow and developed dead areas on the leaves and stem-tips. My first thought is, maybe it was too much of a shock to move straight from the 16" nursery pot into the saturated soil in my yard. The tree was a little over 6' tall. Is this the problem? How can I relieve the shock?
will the area still be wet after those handsome drainage pipes are installed?– kevinskio ♦Jun 18, 2014 at 11:01
1Check out Willow anthracnose (caused by Marssonina salicicola) particularly if you have blackish, small cankers showing on the stems as well, just in case it's that– BambooJun 18, 2014 at 12:49
@Bamboo Thanks for the reply. I can't find any cankers of any size along the stems/trunk. Do they sometimes come after the other symptoms?– J. MusserJun 18, 2014 at 19:12
@kevinsky those pipes are actually going to drain the large puddle/marsh on the other side of the driveway to the right of the topsoil pile. They will drain it directly into the ditch by the road on this side, where the township already has an 18" pipe draining to the other side of the road. I don't know if that will help this side much, but the ditch by the road will be deeper than before.– J. MusserJun 18, 2014 at 19:18
@jmusser - yea, sometimes it starts with black bits here and there, and left long enough, they become bigger black lesions and develop into cankers. This infection can be a problem in very damp ground.– BambooJun 19, 2014 at 10:02
Apparently, it was transplant shock caused by the big change in soil moisture content. The ground has now dried partly (still very damp, but not saturated in the top 4 inches anymore). As soon as that happened, the tree grew quickly (4-10 inches, in different areas), and the new growth doesn't show dead tips/leaf spots. It also has increased leaf size, and is a couple shades darker green.
Trees should ideally not be planted directly into saturated soil. Trees that can grow in these conditions should be adjusted slowly, sort of like hardening off. (And I know the tree should be staked. I'll get around to it. The stake in the question was placed there by the kids, and was removed for girdling reasons.)
They need moist soil down 2" if saturated below that you need to check roots, they will stop drawing water if saturated. Give the roots exposure to air a day or two to dry them cover with soil they should start drawing water again, have your soil tested for salt... nutrients. One more thing is to check under the leaves for insects. Hope it helps.