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Drastic leaf loss

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Question from Mrs Carolyn French

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I live in western France and bought Acacia Dealbata Gaulois from a local retailer ( not a grower, I think, more like "Wyevale" in UK ) just after Christmas, looking forward to the colour and the scent of the flowers. It's in a large, unheated enclosed verandah, with plenty of natural light, (large "French" windows along one "wall") where it should be fine, away from any frost or strong winds. So far it hasn't had to put up with much sunlight or heat this winter !!! Don't know its age - 10cms is trunk circumference where it appears above the soil and the current height at tallest shoots is 90 cms. It's been well-shaped, I feel, and has plenty of buds. Pot size is maximum 24 cms at top and the same in height. BUT in the last couple of weeks it has started and continued to shed its leaves profusely and I don't know why. They aren't really yellowed. I use rainwater for it and have watered most days because it seemed very dry when we brought it home from the garden centre. No water comes out at the bottom of the pot and it's only now that the soil at the top of the pot feels anyhow moist to the touch. Advice please, as the leaf loss is looking as though it will be desperate? Has it been left in too small a pot, perhaps to bring flower buds on, and should we re-pot it asap? Could it be a watering fault ? To reassure you about my flower care, I do have azalea, cyclamen and cymbidium all flowering well at the moment in the same room. But I don't think I'm doing very well with a "mimosa" that should be fairly tolerant. We have no intention of putting it in our small garden as there's no suitable spot. I've noticed today a slight sticky secretion where the tiny leaves join their "twig" (sorry ! I don't know the techinical terms for this ) and have no idea if this is usual with acacia or not. Thank you VERY much for reading this far and for any advice that you may be able to give me. I don't want to lose the plant !

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  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Mon. 17th February 2014 15:18

Re: Drastic leaf loss

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Mrs. French,
It is always best to repot after purchasing a tree, particularly from retailers like you describe. My two biggest concerns are 1) no water draining from the pot and 2) the amount of water it is getting. If the pot does not drain, the roots are probably sitting in stagnant water. This is, basically, drowning the roots. Second, it does not need water every day in an pot indoors. I would repot immediately, replacing much of the old compost and making sure the roots are not girdling (circling) around the pot. Water well when your repot then water when the soil surface starts to feel dry.
Can you load a photo of the sticky substance - not sure about that yet.
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 18th February 2014 20:24

Re: Re: Drastic leaf loss

Reply from Mrs Carolyn French

Dear Kathy,
Thank you very much for your interest and helpful reply.
I also thought that it should be repotted but was reluctant to do so with the flower buds there, not far from being ready to open ! But your advice gave us the necessary push to get on with the job asap - a considerably larger pot for it and the right sort of soil mixture, we hope. I don't think the roots had been drowning as the day before we repotted water appeared out of the bottom, at long last !
I'm delighted to say that the leaf loss appears to have stopped with the fall of most of the old growth - none of the apparently recent good growth has been affected - and it's now flowering very well. We're losing some flower buds, but not too many, and that was perhaps to be expected given the timing of the repotting.
So, our mimosa is giving us the pleasure we hoped, and we trust that we shall be able to care for it so that there will be even more flowers and scent next year !!
Again, thank you for your advice.
Carolyn French

  • Posted: Wed. 12th March 2014 17:12