Newly Planted Tree Leaves Turning Brown, Yellow or Wilting? Try…

Newly Planted Tree Leaves Turning Brown, Yellow or Wilting? Try…

Gently placed in its planting spot, sealed with soil and quenched with water–you can’t wait for your new tree to flourish!

But, after weeks of watching your tree soak in its brand-new life, you see... brown, yellow or wilted leaves?

When new trees have drooping or discolored leaves, there’s a problem. So, what can you do to help?


Why You’re Having Problems with Newly Planted Trees and What to Do

Adjusting to a new home is stressful for young trees. The sudden change in environment can lead to all sorts of problems, which is called transplant shock.

Transplant shock usually starts at the tree’s roots. Sometimes roots don’t have enough room to spread out or didn’t get enough water right after being planted. Whatever the case, trees wear their heart on their sleeve–or should we say their leaves. That’s why you see those wilted, yellow or brown leaves.

Is my newly planted tree dying?

You can often revive a shocked tree, but you’ll first need to make sure it’s alive and well.

  • Try bending a tree branch. If the tree’s dead, it will easily snap. Live tree twigs are nimble, so they’re flexible, bendable and much harder to break.
  • Or scratch a spot on the twig with your fingertip or a pocket knife. If the layer immediately under the bark is moist and bright green, the tree’s alive.

What to Do About Newly Planted Tree Leaves Wilting, Turning Yellow or Browning

Trees often suffer from transplant shock because their roots don’t have enough room to establish themselves.

Shocked trees also need a little TLC to get them back on track. Here are a few things you can try:

If those steps don’t appear to help your tree, consider replanting the tree in a larger hole. First, read this guide about transplanting trees. If you’re unsure if your tree needs moved, ask an arborist. Replanting your tree again could shock it once more.

Learn more about how to set your new tree up for success here!

  • The Tree Doctor May 26, 2017 >Hi Jodi. Oh no! That is a beautiful tree, so let's figure out what is going on. First, who planted the tree? Was the burlap removed? We suspect this could be happening because of a planting problem. Unless was there a recent frost since you've planted the tree? Please contact us directly and send a picture of this tree to With more info, we can provide more help. Thanks, Jodi.
  • Jodi Luskin May 18, 2017 >My new tree looks awful! wilted and yellow leaves. Its a large tree...maybe 12-15 ft tall? its rained a lot so watering is not an issue. There is mulch around the base. It is a "Prairie Fire" Crabapple. Thank you
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