Got a redbud seedling at a fair in town for $1. It came in a pot; perhaps three-feet tall little tree with all its foliage on it. I planted it as soon as I got home, but as I transferred it into the hole in the ground, the soil around the roots fell off completely in several chunks, leaving the roots exposed for a few seconds before placing the seedling into its final place. A lot of mulch got into the hole as I hasted to cover the roots. Otherwise, I poured in potting soil, and plenty of water.
It took barely two days for the leaves to shrivel and become stiff - like paper sheet. Now the wrinkled leaves certainly look bad, but the trunk and branches still show a normal color. At first the soil around the trunk was too loose (probably because of the mulch in it), but I compacted it with some additional potting soil.
Questions: Is this a normal shock? If all the leaves die off, how can the tree possibly get enough energy to survive and develop roots? How long should I wait before I give up watering and feeding root promoting products?
that is surprising as it sounds like the roots were not exposed more than a few moments. give it a couple weeks and watch for new buds. candidly it does not sound promising. splurge and spend another buck and get another if you can.
when you say potting soil is that tree and shrub soil of potting soil for annuals? i usually use a mixture of the tree and shrub soil and the dirt from the hole along with whatever the plant is currently in before going into the ground.
A few moments of roots exposed isn't going to kill a plant, so I'm sure it's something else that's causing the stress it's going through now. A bit of transplant shock is normal, but this sounds more severe than what I'd expect. I wonder if the seedling maybe hadn't been acclimated to the amount of sun that you planted it in? If someone had started a seedling indoors or in a shady spot and you planted it in a sunnier location without adjusting it gradually to the higher light level first the leaves could sunburn, and especially on a young plant a bad sunburn could kill the leaves. It could sprout new leaves though so I'd give it a little time and see what happens.
Red buds are indiginous around here and I pull them like weeds.
If you don't get the root, they often resprout, so if the stem is alive, it may still resprout.
They're awfully resilient buggers, at least in our climate/soil conditions, etc.
So I'd give it a little more time.
I'd keep it watered but careful not to drown it. I doubt any more root stimulator will help.
Good luck with it.