Honey Locust Losing Leaves

philipk65August 26, 2010

Hi, I have a 14 year old Honey Locust tree.

The leaves turn yellow and drop off every day from Lat May until late fall. It's like it fall here EVERYDAY!

Other Locust trees in town have the same problem.

Is it heat related? What can be done to prevent the leaf lose?

Thanks! Kevin

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Dan Staley

What can be done to prevent the leaf [loss]?

o Change the genetics of the species to make it stop abscising leaflets during drought stress.

o Change the climate of the planet to make the Mediterranean climes rain in summer.

o Cut down the tree.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:04AM
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Hey Dan, THANKS for being soooo helpful. Instead of being a smartass about it, you could have told me it is stress related and there is nothing I can do. I am neither a California native, nor have prior experience with this species, so since I'm not an EXPERT as obviously you are, I sought help here to see if perhaps it was insects or a disease that I COULD do something about. Instead I get a response such as yours. Can you change your genetics so you are not such a d@#%?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Dan Staley

Well, that's what I get for not writing my standard 'impossible to tell with information provided' reply. Whaddya gon' do.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 5:42PM
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What other info specifically do you need?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:18PM
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Water it.

Please don't yell at me.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:02PM
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Yes, I water it twice a day.

How much water does it need?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:36PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You said "Yes, I water it twice a day. "

By what system? Drip? Trickle? Sprinkler? Hand held hose?

And how long does the sytem run?

Also how deep is the soil moistened with each irrigation?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:29PM
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Those are important questions to answer. Please tell us more about your climate and soil. I'm guessing it is naturally arid. There is also such a thing as watering too much. In the desert SW, many cultivated plants are dependant on irrigation. They are irrigated from sprinklers and things like that very frequently creating a shallow rooted tree that is even less tolerant of drought.
Off the bat, twice a day sounds crazy to someone in the east but I won't rush to judgement.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:30AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Here in flood prone St. Louis twice a day sounds extreme as well.

philipk65, what part of California are you in? Believe it or not the only part of CA I've visited is Death Valley lol.

14 years old might be a pretty decent sized tree. Is this like a 20 or 30 foot specimen? Normally for my small transplants I can stick my fingers in the ground to tell if they need water. Do you check your dirt to see if it needs that much irrigation?

Escaping my fascination with areas not in the Missouri & Mississippi River floodplane...
Some trees, my black walnuts, my neighbor's Box Elder, just always are ready to drop leaves. While I've never noticed the Locust trees in St. Louis dumping leaves it must be more common out your way. Personally I doubt there is much you can or should do.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:32PM
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I live in the East Bay Area of San Francisco.

I water it twice a day with a hose (5 gallons each time)

The soil is mostly clay.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:32PM
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Don't know how big the tree is.

If this is a larger tree, as would be suggested by the 14 year age, 5 gallons isn't much water.

If it needs water, It needs a deep watering, running a slow hose or soaker for a long time. Then wait for the soil to dry out, dig down several inches around the tree and see that it is dry before you water it again.

Most trees don't want to stay wet most all the time, with a hand full of exceptions, but the honey locust isn't one of them.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 12:03PM
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I would like an answer too. I planted 2 trees 15 years ago in deferent spots and I live in an area with lots of rain and every year the same thing happens to the 2 trees, they start loosing there leaves by mid summer, slowly turning yellow and then falling off decease like.Every year,no matter what I do, and they get bigger every year, go figure.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 11:02AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Claude, welcome aboard. What type of trees do you have and where in zone 5 are ya?

The Box Elders around me drop leaves from June on. They grow but it is amazing how many leaves they can lose.

Black Walnuts do similar. Mine have just started their early fall routine putting what I'm growing under them into part sun. None the less some are LARGE trees and we are talking a dozen of them so it must be just the nature of Black walnut in my area.

One thing we do in suburbia is plant trees which WILL GROW in our area if you plant them in a field and eliminate the competition. But the locale might not be IDEAL for them. Crepe myrtles come to mind. No natural rows of crepe myrtle along the highways here.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:08PM
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larry_c(z6 Stl. Mo.)

I am having the same problem. My front yard is 4 feet above the street and I have not watered my front yard this summer. It has been hot and dry here in St. Louis so I didn't worry about the initial drop but now the entire tree is shedding.

I had web worms in the tree last year and thought this may still be affecting it also. I am watering it now. This tree is 25 years old and my main front yard tree. Can't afford to lose it.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 6:35PM
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viche(7a MD)

My Thornless Honey Locust in MD does the same thing. It is Sept 17th and very few leaves remain. The shedding starts maybe in early July and continues until Octoberish. It's not mimosa webworm. I dealt with those in late July using an Orthene Soil drench which seemed to have work, but I can't figure out why the tree loses its leaves. None of the other trees in my yard do this. The tree is at the bottom of a hill so it's in a damp area. I don't water it frequently, but I never have and I don't think the tree used to do this. I think it used to be more full and stay greener longer. I'm always surprised now when it comes back in the spring, but I am really getting tired the constant sweeping. It sits at the edge of my deck and provides nice shade while the leaves are acutally on.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 3:55PM
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Just a suggestion...Could it be getting too much water? I know that some plants drop leaves if getting too much water. Lack of water would cause yellow leaves to start drying out on the edges. Just a though...could apply to trees as well.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:48AM
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