En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 21, 2006

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Trees
Title: Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are fine. The yellowing is uniform, not specific to old or new leaves, and veins are the same color. The leaves are not "burned", curled or dying, just very yellow. It has been that way for months (since shortly after planting), with no visible change except to slowly become more yellow.

ANSWER:

Western soapberry, Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii is well known and much appreciated in some areas for its yellow-orange fall foliage. Your tree may actually be exhibiting a sort of early "fall foliage" response to the shock of being transplanted. It is likely to begin dropping many of those yellow leaves soon.

Actually, the loss of foliage now is probably a good thing as it is the tree's way of reducing stress caused by dessication. When a plant of any kind (even a container-grown one) is newly transplanted, the roots are inevitably damaged to some extent. The remaining roots are no longer able to meet the water demands of the top growth and the plant suffers what is commonly referred to as transplant shock. Removing some of the top growth by pruning at the time of transplanting (it's not too late to do it now) is the best way to reduce the stress to your new tree and help it become established more quickly. Giving the new transplant more water to compensate for the loss of roots is usually a sure way to kill the plant by "drowning" the roots.

It is possible that your tree is exhibiting a response to a soil nutrient issue, but that is not as likely. If the soapberry produces yellowed foliage next year, then you should suspect a nutrient problem. In that case, you might want to have your soil tested to determine what kind of soil chemistry issues you're dealing with.

 

More Transplants Questions

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Agave havardiana in Stella NC
July 10, 2009 - We have a havard century plant in a large pot outside that has a couple of "baby" plants starting to emerge on the outer perimeter of the plant. Can we sucessfully transplant these babies elsewhere ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Cornus sericea by sprouts in Maryland
November 21, 2008 - I would like to transplant suckers of a red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea). When is the best time to do it (before or during dormancy)? How big of a root system does each sucker need to survive? Where ...
view the full question and answer

Propagating yaupons (Ilex vomitoria)
November 30, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty, I enjoy your weekly tips printed in the Austin Statesman. We live in the Texas hill country where the soil is essentially rock. One of the nice benefits of our yard and the are...
view the full question and answer

Holding an Acer rubrum in a container for two years
October 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am thinking about ordering a Red Maple tree that is cultivated from Mount Vernon. I appreciate the historic nature of such a tree. The tree will be shipped to me and is ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center