Brown Edges on Leaves


brown edges on leaves that look alittle small for a 2 year old tree-should I water more?thanks

clay and top soil and half day of sun in toronto


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

There are several different things that could be affecting your tree. To be able to pin point the case we will need more information.

If you can send us the following information it will help diagnosing the problem:

  • What type of deciduous tree do you have? Different types have different requirements.
  • Exposure to sun. Is it morning sun, afternoon sun or evening sun?
  • What is around the tree? Is there cement or a wall nearby could be heating up the area when hit by the sun; Is there excessive wind in the spot; are there other plants around the tree?
  • Has the tree been exposed to salt spray, lawn fertilizer, or any other possible chemicals?
  • What is the drainage of the soil like? What has been the watering regime for the tree?
  • How was the tree planted? Was any materials left around the roots (like burlap for example) when planted? How deep was the tree planted? Has it been mulched?

There are many factors that can affect the growth of a new tree.

Over watering and under watering can be an issue affecting leaf size. It has been a wet summer so far so it is worth checking it is not too wet. If you stick your finger into the soil at least two inches deep is it wet? If the soil is not draining well the  pockets in the soil remain full of water and do not allow air to get to the roots. Roots need that air to function ; with out it they can drown. If the area is draining too fast then the tree does not have enough water. Trees are happiest when they receive a long, deep watering  then drain and dry before they are watered again. If they receive a small amount of water on the surface regularly you will have shallow roots that do not thrive and are prone to damage. To help with moisture retention a “doughnut” of mulch around the trunk ( but not touching or piled against the bark) will help retain moisture, keep the weeds down and eventually breakdown to supply more nutrients to the tree.

You will also need to check if the tree was planted to the correct depth. If the tree is planted too deep the tree will not thrive and will eventually die. To check this look at the trunk. At the base of a trunk there is a flair where the roots start to branch off from the trunk. This is the line that should be at ground level. None of the trunk above this spot should have any dirt or mulch up against it. If there is dirt up against the bark of the trunk, the bark will breakdown and rot.

I have only out lined the most common issues with young trees. To figure out what is happening with your tree we need more information. A picture would also greatly help us answer your question.

We look forward to receiving the information so we can help you with the tree.