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Problem solving

No leaves on tree yet

I've got a question from the Netherlands. Last April (early April) I bought a Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gum Ball'. Offcourse, without leaves because it was early spring. But it's mid-june, there is one tiny leave, rest of the tree is still bare. There are

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Obelixx

It does sound very late but, as I have my first tiny leaf appearing on my fig today and a hibiscus with only two branches showing tiny leaves, I would advocate waiting another week or so to see if any more come on your liquidambar.

Having said that, I'd expect a liquidambar to recover from a bad winter and spring a lot sooner than a fig or hibiscus and indeed saw two of them in a friend's garden here in central Belgium in fine leaf just today.

If your's doesn't produce decent foliage in the next week then I suggest you go to the supplier and ask for a refund or a replacement.

Thank you for your respons. There are some tiny other leaves showing, but still not quite convincing.... I'll try to be patient.

Lion S

Hi Maricia,

Your Liquidambar 'Gumball' should have produced lots of healthy leaves by now, and to me the most obvious reason why it didn't is that the tree could be planted too deep.

Normally trees should be planted at the same depth as they were growing at the nursery because they need their uppermost roots to be just under the surface in order to get enough oxygen. Even if it's planted only a few inches too deep the tree will struggle. Please check the depth of the uppermost roots.

Another possibility is that the trunk has been damaged in any way. Could you try and upload photos of the situation? I would also like to know what soil the tree has been planted in.

BTW, I'm also living in the Netherlands so if you're not too far away I could come over and check your tree out if you would like me to. 

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Robot

I'm in SW France and this is my Liquidambar a few minutes ago.  It has been like this for a month or more.  If anyone knows about these trees I'm wondering if I should take off the shoots at the base of the trunk and can I use them somehow to make cuttings?  This tree was one of the two trees in the garden when we came here so I don't know much about it.  Reluctantly we have trimmed the bottom branches off so that we can get around on the mower.  Normally it has a more triangular shape - which I prefer but hubs complained of being attacked by it


 

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Well, that's somewhat different than mine. See picture.


 

Robot

Oh dear.  It doesn't look well does it?

I suggest you get up SAFELY!! to one of the small branches and scrape the outer bark and see what colour is underneath.  If it is green then it is alive and if it is brown then it is dead.  Then make your way down until you come to a green bit.  If it is all brown then it's probably had it.  I'm surprised because my books say that it is fairly tough but won't survive temperatures of about minus 20.  Did you get that?  We get minus 15 and it's ok. 

I have lost quite a bit this year as we had an unusual 3 weeks of snow and then a horrendous frost following a hot spell.  I have cut down several large shrubs and smaller trees back to the green and they are sprouting again. 

I do hope you can save this lovely tree.

Well, I've looked at the branches, the tips are brown, but further down to the base, its green. So now w'hat, do I have to cut the brown parts, leave them be, or ... Help, I'm already happy its not completly dead but I don't want to ruin this tree.

Robot

Hi Maricia,

Yes, cut out the dead wood.  It won't to anything and the tree is better not trying to support it.  Cut into the green just above a bud if you can.  I know it's a big job but it will spur the tree on to make new shoots.  Perhaps you could give it a copious amount of water with an all purpose feed in around the base of the tree to help it along.  I'm really pleased you found some green. 

I have a large Hibiscus plus several smaller ones and the large one was nuked in the winter.  I've cut it back to the green and have been giving it a feed and there's new shoots appearing now.  The small ones are all in leaf and doing fine without any loss of leaf or feeding.  It seems a lot of big trees suffered this last winter. 

Robot

You are very welcome.  Fingers crossed for you. 

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