Ilex Aquifolium urban yamadori leaf color

I ran into a dumped old Ilex Aquifolium a week or two ago. I decided to attempt a rescue.

It had been dug up with very little care (as it was destined for the trash), but it still had a rootball encased in slightly moist clay, so it never fully dried. The weather was about 30 C where the bush was, in full sun. It had been there about a day, I think. Since I had no chance of transporting it with all its foliage and crazy branching, I decided to do a hard prune of the bulk, but leave any foliage I could. I cleaned up all root cut sites, left the center rootball mostly encased in the native soil, and potted it up into crushed expanded clay.

Anyway, the leaves have started to turn purplish-brown-almost black on the top and seem to be abscising.
Does anyone have experience with Ilex in general and Aquifolium in particular? Is this likely the tree just reacting to the trauma, or am I over/under watering? Any and all input would be most welcome.

The small ones I have are green, but I think there are some cultivars with darker foliage. I would be careful with your watering and dig a finger or chopstick into the soil to make sure it is starting to dry a bit before soaking it good. Over watering is probably one of the biggest killers of trees with compromised root systems.


The original foliage was green, so it’s not that this is just the natural foliage. I should have been clearer on that front.

I’d wager it’s the water, then. We’ve been having really wet weather, and I’ve been watering when we haven’t. Thank you!