I've had it for 7 years and in the last 2-3 months it has been losing all of its leaves. In an attempt to save what is left of it, I transplanted it today into a larger pot with fresh organic soil. i think, looking around online, i've overwatered it. also i had the top of the soil covered with rocks. When i removed them all to transplant, the soil was very moist. The last time a watered it was about 3 days ago. The tree (well mostly sticks at this point) is over 5 feet tall and the root system was very small. They didn't seem to be rotten. I've trimmed most of the branches down, with a few left that had healthy leaves. The base stems are still green when i scratched it (all the way up until the top 1/4)

Does my tree have any hope of rebounding? Should I trim it down more?

I didn't water it when I transplanted it today, the soil was pretty moist already, should I?

It used to be a large beautiful tree. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I've had this tree for so long, i'd hate toss it! (I have pic but are unable to upload them yet)

1 Answer 1


If it is over watering you would have seen some of these things when you re-potted it:

  • soft brown mushy roots, very few tiny feeder roots
  • parts of the trunk will have the outer surface rotting from the inside. You just touch it and it sloughs off
  • commonly the plant dies from the top down. The top stems go limp from lack of water as the circulation system cannot bring the water up that high

If you see brown or dark bumps on the stems and underside of leaves (scale) or white fluffy cottony masses (mealy bug) in the leaf axils or small grains like salt on the underside of the leaves (spider mites) you have insect problems and that is another question. Observe the underside of the leaves and stems closely with a magnifying glass to verify if pests are present.

Unfortunately re potting a plant that is already stressed does not help it. You need to:

  • place it in an area with more light
  • hold off on the watering
  • cut back the dead growth until you see green living material on the stems
  • wait, patience is required as the plant grows new roots
  • Thank you! The leaves look in good shape but i'll take a look with a magnifying glass to make sure. From what i remember, the roots were brown in color but not mushy. Not many feeder roots so it seems like it is heading to what you are describing. I'll have to wait and see.
    – JFA
    Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 0:28

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