A little more than a year ago I posted a Friday quiz based on a failing Cornus kousa.The answer explained that our landscape has, in part, a perched water table that effectively rotted most of the roots of this poor tree over several years. Last spring we moved it to a different section of our landscape where we know the drainage is better, and I’ve been monitoring its recovery since that time.
Cornus kousa leaves in 2007
Cornus kousa leaves in 2011
We were gratified to see that the leaves this year are significantly larger than those of previous years. This tells us that root function has resumed, providing enough turgor pressure to expand the leaves to normal size. It was especially helpful that we had one of the rainiest springs on record.
Take home lesson: if a tree or shrub is failing in its current location, it’s worth digging up to see what’s going on. Bad soil conditions? Move it to a better location. Bad roots? Time to hone your root pruning skills. But wait until fall to do this. Transplanting this time of year is the most difficult for plants because of the increased water demands of warmer temperatures and expanding leaves.