Problem with Katsura Tree Losing its Leaves

Credit: iStockphoto


Q: Could you please give me some reasons why a katsura tree would lose its leaves prematurely? I live in Nanaimo, B.C. The tree is situated in a sunny unprotected area, uphill from the ocean, so it does get the wind. The leaves do not crumble when you feel them so they are not drying out but they are turning color , an orange-brown, this is over the whole tree, it is getting watered on a regular schedule as there is an irrigation system, the tree is approx. four years on the yard.

Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) usually does not have any major issues with insects or diseases. When a deciduous plant starts to take on an early fall colour this may suggest the plant is under stress either from cultural and/or environmental sources. These trees prefers deep, moist, fertile soil in either full sun or dappled shade. They should be in a sheltered location to protect leaves from frost and cold winds.

Check soil level to ensure tree is not planted too deep. Remove any grass at least 1 m (3 feet) away from the trunk to allow the tree to absorb moisture and nutrients more readily. Mulch soil surface in spring to retain better moisture, reduce weeds, and help in nourishing the young tree. Keep mulch at least 10 cm (4 in.) from the base. Maintain this grass-free zone for at least 8 years.

My suggestions come from the BC Landscape Standard 7th edition.