Desert Willow Trees
Q.

My Desert Willow looks terrible and the leaves are just tiny clusters at the ends of branches. What’s going on?

Zone 85617 | Anonymous added on August 3, 2019 | Answered

It's about 10 years old and has been beautiful every year until this spring. I live in southern Arizona. We did have the coldest winter in the 12 years I've been here with over a month of consecutive nights below freezing. It did warm in the day time to almost normal temps. -- 40-60 degrees. I have babied this tree since I brought it home as a "branch" from a nursery. The fact that it grew at all was amazing. This is very depressing. What can I do?

A.
A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
GKH_Susan
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 3, 2019

It may be an insect or mite pest, possibly thrips. It's really hard to see details from the photos, but I think I see leaf stippling/spotting, and then the stunted growth is characteristic of some thrips infestations. I think it will take a keen experienced eye on site with a hand lens to look for tiny black enlongated insects. Nutrient deficiency is another possibility, but I lean toward the pest problem as best guess.

I suggest that you contact your local U of A extension office and see if they will send out a home horticulture advisor, or give you a location to take a sample of the foliage. It should be a free service. The alternative is to hire a consulting arborist, plant health care specialist or a certified arborist from a tree service that provides tree and landscape pest control.

https://extension.arizona.edu/locations

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