Does my Limber Pine Tree have Transplant Shock?

Credit: mikeyskatie

Q: I planted a beautiful full 5 ft. Limber Pine last May. Three months after planting, it started to droop and has never recovered. I live in Oakville, Ontario, and I have friends in Waterloo who have had the same experience with their Limber Pine trees.

Can this droop be reversed? If not, I will ask nursery for a replacement. First, I would like to know what caused the droop and how I might prevent it.

Thank you.

Pines tend to produce a taproot early in life, which makes transplanting difficult. Nursery growers avoid this problem by “root pruning” the pines when they’re young. Root pruning produces a more sizeable rootball.

What you are observing are the symptoms of “transplant shock.” Transplant shock usually occurs in the first season after planting, due to an inadequate rootball. Unfortunately, it is not often recoverable.

Make sure you always purchase the largest rootball when possible. Ensure the rootball is firm, not loose. Handle rootballs with care: keep them moist, do not carry the tree by the trunk, and always support rootball.