Have I killed my Madonna Elder?

(Question)

I relocated it recently and now the leaves are wilting! What should I do?

(Answer)

If you followed good transplanting practice … preparing the hole in advance, taking a large enough root ball, replanting the tree as soon as possible and watering in well, it’s unlikely that you have killed the tree. It’s probably just “sulking”, that is, suffering a little transplant shock, which is normal, since ¬† inevitably, it has lost some of its root system.

In order to make sure the tree has a chance to grow the roots it needs, watering and mulching are important.

For the first three years, you’ll need to monitor the soil moisture. In the first year, give the tree one inch per week. Remember that overwatering can be as stressful for the plant as drought. To ¬†conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, and inhibit the growth of competing grass, surround a large area around the tree, NOT right up against it, with 3 to 4 inches of mulch.

Do not prune the tree. You may well see new growth later in the season. Don’t assume it is permanently damaged until you see how it leafs out NEXT spring.