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I have a Robinia Frisia tree which is usually very beautiful by now but the leaves have emerged and they are tiny, miniature versions of how they should be!  Have the leaf buds been damaged by frost?  Anyone have similar problem or know what the reason could be? TIA

Lion S

Robinia 'Frisia' is known to be hardy, so frost damage doesn't seem very likely. Has the bark been damaged in any way? Or has some work been done near the tree? Has the tree ever been pruned? What kind of soil is it planted in?

When possible try uploading a picture, so we can have a look.

 I hope you can see from this pic.  It is about 3 yrs old now and definitely didn't look like this last year.  It is planted in quite poor soil but has been enriched and fed/mulched regularly.  I believe they tolerate poor soils but not sure if this is the problem.  Hasn't been damaged afaik and not been pruned yet as is a young tree.

Paul N

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' is currectly suffering from a countrywide disease./virus. My own eighteen year old 20ft had awful die back and I've had to reduce it's height by half. At least your is in leaf but it may be the beginnings of the illness. Dry, flakey bark with a canker-like appearance will show it is in fact the virus. There appears to be no cure.

Oh no - I had read about that but assumed as it was in leaf it could be something else causing the leaf problem.  I will be so sad to lose it


Paul N

I may be wrong in your case but I fear mine will be gone after this year. I have a Paulownia tomentosa in a pot to replace it, but it will be a loss for the UK's second most best selling tree.

Lion S

Please check if you haven't planted your Robinia 'Frisia' too deep. The upper most roots should only be a inch under the soil at most. These trees love poor, dry soils and do best when they are not pampered. They hate wet soils so I would stop mulching. 

Not sure if it was planted correctly but the soil could be a problem.  Although it is poor, it is very heavy and cracks when it dries out.  It is also very alkaline.  Any tips for what I should do if that is the problem?  I will stop mulching it and watering it regularly.

I too am suffering a problem with mine, i seem to get less and less leaves each year and have a number of branches with no leaves on at all. However where i pruned low dead branches last year i do have signs of leaves growing round the cuts. It doesnt look good though and is normally the show piece tree in my garden. Miracle cure required!


Mine has been fine for 9 years and, apart from losing some of its head in severe winds one winter, has always leafed up well.  However this year it's looking just like the OP's 3yr old so I reckon I may have to cut it down come autumn and find another golden leaved tree as mine is planted in a woodland corner with some purple leaved trees and shrubs for contrast.

I've got my eye on a which I've seen grown as a small tree in a garden I visited in Charleroi.  Just have to find one now.


Paul N

"Pungently scented flowers"? Hmm, this is a new one on me. Pleasant or unpleasant?


I liked it and so did the two people I was with and who are also  planning to get one for their garden.  The lady gardener had it planted on a corner just by her terrace so it's near her outdoor table.   Definitely pleasant then.

I have to say, my tree has performed a miracle since I posted and in the last few weeks has perked up and is now looking amazing!  I have noticed however, that lots of Robinia's are looking a bit sorry for themselves this year.  My friend's 30 yr old tree barely has a leaf on it

Oh no.... mine's been in for 17 years this month...First thing to be planted in the back garden when we moved into a new house.  It's usually beautiful but the leaves are small and there's a lot of dead wood at the end of the branches.  I thought it was the weather because neighbours two doors down have the same problem with theirs.  It's the same age. 

 I'm going to get it pruned and see how it goes, but I'll be so sad if it has to be taken out...We've grown a clamatis through it and the contrast of the green leaf and dark purple clamatis flower is stunning

Lets hope it's the weather!


My two Robinias are also looking very sparse in the canopy this year, they are about five years old and make the garden look so sunny.

I am hopeing that it is just this very wet summer that is the problem because the ground they are in has become very soggy.

I have a pillar shaped 'Golden Elm' which is doing very well and is just as bright as the Robinias and as it is a pillar shape it does not make too much shade onto my neighbour's garden.



ROBINIA PSEUDOACCACIA FRISIA deaths and "die-back".. HONEY FUNGUS, I was assuming. My is over 30 years old and had got overly large (make sure you prune when young - they are usually lovely tough old things and very good in dry weather, and let plenty of light through).  Now it's very dead apart from a few thinner branches. A tree surgeon refused to help me cut down this tree, since it is in the corner and the big dead branches overhang other peoples'. But I believe the honey fungus (sometimes visible above ground in odd places) was the cause, since along the same "run" along the back of the garden I have also lost several other trees:- one lovely mature crab apple tree, and a middle aged apple tree, and more recently a Crataegus prunifolia.  I am now just expecting more or less any new tree which I plant may eventually die as a consequence of the presence of this fungus in the area. All this damage would make it as horrendous a pest as the ash dieback pathogen surely? My Robinia was the perch for dozens of collared doves, the which flock my neighbour fed daily and over-enthuisiastically. An investigation of the seeds contents of doves and pigeons would be essential as part of study of potential tree pathogens.  The doves' poo has also started off some nasty weeds in my garden which were not present prior to the moving-in of the bird-feeding enthusiast.. 

Miss Jones,

There was a question on GQT yesterday about Robinias dying, and it is quite a widespread problem. I've had three in my gardens last year.

I'm amazed at your problem with this so-called tree surgeon. I can only assume that he or she is an uninsured chancer masquerading as a professional.


My Robinia (18 years old) has been showing signs of die back for a number of years and last year gave up the ghost. After reading an article on the RHS site and further examination of the tree it was clear that it was suffering from a saver case  Verticillium Wilt.


Our Robinia which we planted three years ago has now died.  First year was great with lots of growth.  Last year started ok but with all the rain lost all its leaves and then when rain eased up a bit some leaves sprouted again but with no great show. Now completely dead.  It is planted on very sandy ground so do not believe poor drainage would have been the problem.  Very sad as it was set to be a beautiful tree.  We have other Robinias in the area so will be interested to see if they suffer too but it is too soon to know as leaves do not come out until May.