1. Q. About three months ago I planted a 5 foot red maple in my backyard. About a week after planting most of the leaves started turning brown and crumbly at ends and all the leaves went from a dark green to a very pale green, some almost yellow. The only area that seems to be doing ok is the very top of the tree, leaves are darker green and there are some new red leaves. The rest of the tree looks awfull and bare, I have also noticed brown speckles on some of the leaves. I live down here in southwest florida, the tree was container grown from a local nursery. The tree looked great when I purchased it.

A: I imagine that the tree is going through a transplant shock -- the root system is trying to expand as fast as the top is growing. This root - shoot balance is difficult to attain for newly planted trees when trees are planted late -- this is why we recommend transplanting of all types be done in late fall or early winter, this gives the root system time to "catch up" with the top. This is especially true with bare root trees but since yours was in a container, the shock should not be as severe. Maples also have a tendency to leaf scorch in hot, direct sun. If this variety is prone to summer leaf scorch, this will be an everlasting problem. Check with the county Extension Agent or horticulturist and see if this is a recommended tree for your area. You might also keep a 3 inch layer of mulch (dried leaves, grass clippings, etc.) around the base of the tree in a three foot circle. Some type of shading from the afternoon sun might also be helpful. The damaged leaves will not recover but you may be able to keep the new foliage presentable. You could foliar feed with a soluble fertilizer containing minor elements (iron, magnesium) such as Miracle Grow, Peters 20-20-20 or RapidGrow every week to green the tree up -- spray foliage and used when watering. Good luck. If you have planted an unadapted tree for your area, REMOVE IT IMMEDIATELY. The bigger a problem tree gets, the BIGGER THE PROBLEM GETS!

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