We've got a few 15 year old decorative broadleaf evergreens around our house as hedging. We're selling, and had to get the foundation fixed as part of the sale. While the foundation contractor was working, he uprooted two of the trees to gain access to the foundation, and replanted them when he was finished.

The trees are not dead (we cut some branches and they are still green around the edges) but all of the leaves have turned brown and died due to transplant shock. We pruned off the dead leaves and are hoping that it will bounce back in the next 3 weeks before closing.

We plan to water the crap out of it obviously, but is there a fertilizer or soil additive out there that we could use to help it along? We live in middle Tennessee if that helps.

If this doesn't do the trick, is there a cheap 7-8 foot broadleaf evergreen we can go out and buy that will make a suitable replacement to the untrained eye and is resistant to shock?

EDIT: Pictures of the healthy trees (looks like 2 species, maybe Cleyera, and some kind of Holly?): enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • what, specifically, are these 'decorative broadleaf evergreens' that you already have?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 20, 2016 at 18:55
  • Uncertain. "Broadleaf evergreen" is all I know about them. They came with the house when we bought it 6 years ago. They look like holly leaves possibly, but no berries.
    – bernerbrau
    Jun 20, 2016 at 19:07
  • 1
    If the leaves are brown they won't come back. Just buy a few cedars or arborvitae and water them a lot for the next few weeks.
    – kevinskio
    Jun 20, 2016 at 19:23
  • 1
    Any ideas on the tree species?
    – bernerbrau
    Jun 21, 2016 at 20:02

3 Answers 3


Explain that the required foundation repairs killed the trees (it very likely did, even if they are not "all dead" yet) and knock off the price you'd pay for replacements from the house price if there's a fuss, letting the new owners decide whether to replace them or rip the others out and do something different.

If you need to do something like this in the future, get a tree guy to deal with the trees, don't let the foundation guy do that...

  • We ended up letting the buyer know. He was OK with us removing the trees and reseeding the area. Thanks!
    – bernerbrau
    Jun 21, 2016 at 21:20

Well you're right about Cleyera, that's what you're showing in the top and final pictures, but I don't recognise the other plants, though I'm pretty sure one of them is a Prunus or cherry laurel of some variety. The ones the foundation guy replanted won't regrow, so you're either off to the plant suppliers trying to find something large enough you can plant immediately, or do as Ecnerwal suggests - speak to the buyers and come to an arrangement with them. Either way, you may as well go out and remove the plants he dug up and put back in; even in the remote chance they did regrow, it certainly won't be any time soon, and having two dead trunks in the ground will look worse than an empty space.


There are no additives (other than water!) that will help, but you should prune them back hard. Leaves draw water through the plant and if it has lost a lot of root it will effectively experience drought and die. Hard pruning reduces the demand on the root system and buys time while it recovers.

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