British Columbia: Cercidiphyllum Katsura tree losing leaves

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by sluggo, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member 10 Years

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    hello,

    We planted a Katsura tree in our front yard about 15 years ago. In hindsight the tree is probably too big for our front yard but I don’t know if that’s a big problem. What’s been happening over the last three years is that the leaves turn yellow and drop early. This year about half the leaves are already yellow on August 1.

    We live in Vancouver and there are other very tall trees near us so our Katsura does get some shade. I’ve read that the Katsura is not very drought tolerant and 15 years ago I didn’t guess that would be an issue for us. The soil around the tree is very dry. The tree is maybe 35ft tall.

    Would watering help the tree or is it too big for watering? Any estimates on how much water it would require? I’m not sure it makes sense to dump a bunch of water into a tree that is going to continue to struggle.
     
  2. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    We also have a Katsura tree, and it does drop leaves early if the weather is wickedly hot. We water it as an incidental part of the front garden because we have no lawn, only perennials. All watering is done by soaker hose on timers. Essentially that soaker runs for an hour at a time, early morning or evening, once every four days when it’s boiling and once a week or less if there’s been rain/cooler temps. We have not noticed much leaf drop this summer, but in previous hot years we did see more. No matter how much or little it gets watered it does lose its leaves earlier than surrounding trees. I should say that this tree was planted five years ago by our builder, and is growing well. Trunk diameter is almost double its original, and it’s at least 10 feet taller than it was at planting.

    If you do decide to water just your tree, run a soaker hose around the drip line, because that’s where the water uptake occurs. The reason why those water bags you see on city trees work is because the trees have a drip line small enough to get the water out of the bags at the right spot.
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The row of street trees along 49th Ave east of Granville always prematurely colour and drop their leaves. This year, even the ones by the Edmonds Skytrain Station are dropping their leaves early. As @Keke mentioned, all drought-induced.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    There's not much to be done about street trees, but is there any reason to water a specimen tree in a yard, or just let it be? Is there a period of drought after which it won't revive next year?
     
  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I water my tree (8 years old). I drops leaves like crazy when it's dry and if I don't water small branches start to die off. If drought stress is too much or prolonged, it can kill a tree. Sometimes it weakens the tree and they succumb in the next cold winter. I just noticed the large weeping katsura in the Garden here has very little leaf drop right now.
     
  6. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    I guess the difference between the super-stressed Katsuras I saw in the Coquitlam Centre parking lot yesterday and the Katsuras we are discussing here is that, in general, home growers don’t see trees as replaceable interchangeable inanimate objects. If water restrictions allow, yes, I’d water that tree.
     
  7. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks to everyone for the replies. I’ve now learned about what a drip line is, and I’ve purchased a drip/soaker hose and have been watering my Katsura tree. The leaf drop *seems* to have slowed.

    Cheers
     
    Keke likes this.
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sorry, but the concept of the 'drip line' is long out of date. A tree picks up water throughout its rooting area, which is typically large. See this diagram for the typical root system of a tree.
     

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