Elm Trees

My Chinese Elm loses its leaves every summer in the Central Valley of California

Zone 95695 | Anonymous added on August 19, 2019 | Answered

Is there any way to mitigate summer leaf drop? I'm ready to chop it down, since it does not keep enough leaves to provide shade.

A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 20, 2019

Water deficit (drought stress) can cause this, Chinese elms are not drought tolerant and need deep watering once or twice a month. Drip irrigation may not be adequate. Lawn irrigation is usually shallow and taken by the grass.

Mulching the soil surface under the foliar canopy helps to retain soil moisture.

Another condition that can cause summer leaf drop is a leaf fungal disease called elm anthracnose. It can be controlled with a diligent spray program starting in early spring at the time of leaf bud break, and repeated during the rainy season. If you contact a local tree service with a PHC (plant health care program), ask them about a fungicide with the active ingredient propiconazole. There is also stem injection treatment available.

There is no good do it yourself program available that I know of without spray equipment to reach the entire foliar canopy. But here's a diagnostic tip to differentiate between the two disorders I have mentioned. If you you are watering adequately, and the cause of the leaf drop is in fact anthracnose, the tree should re-foliate when the rains stop by April/May. If it is not leafing out again like that in late spring, beginning of summer, then it is more likely water deficit is the cause.

Along with water management, soil fertility is next most important. If you don't fertilize then the tree will be more susceptible to disease as well as drought stress.

Was this answer useful?

Log in or sign up to help answer this question.
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

You must be logged into your account to answer a question.

If you don't have an account sign up for an account now.

Looking for more?
here are more questions about...
Elm Trees
Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!

Learn From
Your Peers on
Our Blog

Visit Our Blog

Do you know a lot about gardening?
Become a GKH Gardening Expert

Learn More