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 I've posted last year about my young Whitebeam tree which is not thriving. I decided to give it another year to see whether things would improve but if anything it looks more sparse and the leaves are falling even earlier. I've regularly fed and watered it. Could there be anything else causing these problems? It's in alkaline soil - not great quality but have added lots of manure and compost to the border over the last few years and other plants are thriving there.

It's mainly to provide privacy from a neighbours window and I don't know whether to bite the bullet and replace this tree with something else? It's barely grown at all and I need something to grow fast and bushy in this border asap!

Any advice? TIA

Hi Abby2, We did exactly like you when we moved into our house 4 years ago. I just picked out any old tree to the gardener and said to put it in to give us privacy from a neighbour too.

He planted this Swedish White Beam, and for the first 3 years it didn't do much, except look pathetically sparse and then leaves would get brown and curled up and drop off!

Anyway, this year I had a lot of new topsoil dug in to the borders and my white beam looks a lot better. I reckon another year and I will not be able to see our neighbours window at all.

It is the first year it has actually flowered too, and now we have some kind of white berries on it. I also cut off the lower few branches to enable me to underplant. I think it gives it a better look. If you can bear to stick with the tree, then my pic should give you some idea of how it will look in a years time maybe?

My borders are still a work in progress , but I have attached a photo to show you anyway - and I have a useless camera too!


 

Mck1984

Our young tree looks exactly like yours, I put it down to too much sun scorching the leaves, but then I know nothing about trees - not a lot about anything for that matter. It could be down to the soil, we don't have great soil either, but it seems to have grown a little in the few months it's been there. I hope mine ends up like Mrs T's. Hey we could be Whitebeam buddies! They are one of the prettiest trees I've seen.

You give me hope Mrs T - your tree looks lovely

I would be sad to get rid of it as they are very pretty trees and I like the dense foliage which is just what I need for our privacy issue. It seemed to be unfussy about soil type too.

I'm feeding regularly with Miracle gro and also gave it fish, blood and bone earlier on in spring. Is there anything else I could try?

I am not sure what else - if anything - you could do Abby2. I have only fed mine for the first time this year, obviously all the new top soil probably helped, but I also sprinkled some granular feed on to the whole border at the end of May. I think it was by Vita max and it was called gro more. Hope this helps.

 

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Hi Abby

If your whitebeam was a standard tree when you planted it [like Mrs T tree was] then they usually take 3 years for the roots to settle in, even longer in adverse conditions. I would suggest patience and give it 2 or 3 years more and then make a decision.

Hi again, I meant to add last night that some of the leaves on my whitebeam do still, all of a sudden, just fall off. It's not all of them though. I asked in the local trade garden nursery and they said that whilst they are still young they still struggle with the elements. Apparently, wind can affect the leaves, and my garden is a very open, windy site. So Invicta2 is spot on about them taking longer to settle in adverse conditions. Depending on where you are in the country, you may have had some wetter or windier weather the last year or so.

Great advice - thank you I feel reassured now!

The garden is quite windy so that could well be affecting it too. I'm going to keep feeding and nurturing it as suggested. Hopefully I'll have a lovely bushy tree in the next few years 

 

 

Buddyboy - that's brilliant thank you! That's exactly what's going on as other plants in my border although growing well do have pale mottled leaves..

I'll get some ammonium sulphate as you suggest 

A cautionary word regarding alkalinity; you should be aware that although Whitebeam is tolerant of most soil types, its natural home is on chalk downland and even limestone cliffs, so you should not worry too much about that.

What has not been mentioned here is poor drainage. This has been a serious problem with my newly planted Whitebeam on clay soil. Last winter and spring were particularly wet here in Derbyshire (any most other places) and during heavy rain the planting hole just filled with water and stayed there. The result was that it just stopped growing - the leaves didn't fall; it just stopped.

This year, it is still alive and although the first leaves have not yet fully unfurled (end of April) I am hopeful that my extreme measures to bail out the water will mean that it will establish itself and grow into the thing of beauty that is Whitebeam.

A cautionary word regarding alkalinity; you should be aware that although Whitebeam is tolerant of most soil types, its natural home is on chalk downland and even limestone cliffs, so you should not worry too much about that.

What has not been mentioned here is poor drainage. This has been a serious problem with my newly planted Whitebeam on clay soil. Last winter and spring (2013/2014) were particularly wet here in Derbyshire (any most other places) and during heavy rain water just filled the planting hole and stayed there. The result was that it just stopped growing - the leaves didn't fall; it just stopped.

This year, it is still alive and although the first leaves have not yet fully unfurled (end of April) I am hopeful that my extreme measures to bail out the water will mean that it will establish itself and grow into the thing of beauty that is Whitebeam.

m, I planted our Swede Whitebeam from seed and leaves still turn burn at the edges and curl up starting in mid-July.

UPDATE:

I just noticed that our Whitebeam has started to drop a few leaves - and hey, it's mid August 2016, so not too worrying! I have continued this year with pumping out surplus water from the planting hole and it seems to be doing the trick. I understand that going into flower is an indication of stress and there was a lot of flower in the first years after planting, but just one little patch of flower this year.

There are some crossing branches that I will deal with while there is still time for the cuts to heal. There has been a modest amount of growth so I am hopeful that next year it will be looking 'established'.

Hooray! Keeping the fingers crossed.

Hi Whitebeamers!

I joined the site because I have a problem with my 30 year old whitebeam tree....but before I go into that,  let me reassure you that early leaf drop is NORMAL for whitebeams.  There are several of them planted on this estate when it was built thirty years ago,  and they all behave in the same way...they start dropping leaves any time form July onwards, and keep dropping them,  a few at a time,  for months on end!....so you unfortunately have a three-month long autumn to put up with.  It's such a pity, because its a beautiful tree,  but it does have this one drawback.

Now to my problem..... my white beam started dropping even earlier this year,  at the end of June.  There are still many of this year's leaves left now in early October...BUT,  its started coming into leaf again,   and there are even a few blossoms opening.  So I have a tree with quite a lot of this years leaf,  and this year's red berries,  but also opening new leaves and blossom in the second week of October.

Can anyone suggest what is going on?  I'm a bit afraid this may be the tree's swan song,  as it also has a bit of rot where some of the limbs meet the trunk.  Any offers?

Yes, Marvin - exactly right. Although our tree first started to lose its leaves in August it still has at least half of the leaves remaining today on 7 October 2016. And although we don't have new leaves, we do have very pronounced well-developed buds that look like it should be early spring rather than early autumn.

The late summer weather has been kind to the gardens this year and it seems that Whitebeams are extremely responsive to changing environmental conditions. Fingers crossed!

Regarding your 'rot', Whitebeams do have fairly dense growth and I have already found it necessary to prune out some crossing branches on my young tree. Perhaps your tree would benefit from judicious pruning to let in some light and air? Just a thought.

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Correction,  in the light of recent developments!  ALL the buds which are opening on the tree are flower inflorescences...NOT leaves.  You state that going into flower may be a sign of stress,  which intensifies my worries somewhat.

The area of the rot is already quite open, so I don't think pruning is appropriate.

guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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