Wilting leaves on sweetgum tree

Hi all,

I’ve got a really awesome sweetgum tree that I’m desperately trying to keep healthy. The leaves started to wilt but not dry out so I moved it into almost full shade and now the leaves only wilt during the heat of the day and are nice and fully opened outside of that time. As we’re going into the heat of the summer I’m worried that the heat will overcome the leaves.

My questions are:

  1. What is causing the wilting? Just heat or is there something deeper going on?
  2. What can I do to keep it as healthy as possible outside of trying to strike the balance between oxygen and water?

Thanks for any help/advice y’all can offer!

It sounds thirsty. I have a couple of trees that sulk in hot weather. The leaves all droop and they look wilted. Rightly or wrongly I tend to keep those with a water drip tray underneath.

I have an oriental Sweetgum and it wilts if it doesn’t get watered twice a day when it starts to warm up. It’s about the only tree I have that wilts so quickly. And I’ve had it for more than 10 years, so at this point I guess it’s what they do. Do you have moss on the soil surface? That helps a little.

just need to replace the lost water from the container or reduce the rate of transpiration. I would favor watering more as transpiration helps the tree grow but you should consider the micro climate as you already have, one consideration that people don’t often think of is wind. airflow through the foliage will increase the rate of transpiration. You could also try misting the foliage.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I’m going to experiment with foliar misting to reduce transpiration rate and also watering more. It’s in an anderson flat in half pumice and half organic material and then that’s covered in wood chips. It seems like that mix would retain a lot of water so was worried about over watering but maybe it actually needs more…

Have you checked the soil moisture when it starts to wilt? An Anderson flat with half pumice and half organic material should hold quite a bit of water. A shallow bonsai pot with a typical soil mix may not hold as much water and need to be replenished more than once a day.

Does watering cause it to perk up, or does the wilting depend more upon the time of day than the when it was watered? If it wilts in the heat of the day regardless of when it is water it probably does not have sufficient roots to collect enough water and additional watering may make things worse, particularly in an organic mix.