Why are these two small trees not doing so well right now in spring time?

Hello.
Here are two photographs: 1.
http://i.imgur.com/v10OE56.jpg
2.
http://i.imgur.com/n0w5Kno.jpg
Bad dirt? Not enough sun? Too much sun? Not enough water? Too moist? Other plants and trees, near them, are doing fine though. They are in Southern California near a house.
Thank you in advance. :)
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Ant wrote:

What are they? What is the soil like? (texture, depth, pH, content) How moist is it? (scrape away the bark and stick your finger in)
The first looks about to die. Why are so many branches cut off? What direction is the wall from #1? How many hours a day does the sun hit the wall now?
The second doesn't look too bad but the photo is overexposed and I can't see the colour of the leaves. What seems to be wrong with it?
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On 16/05/2015 11:39 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

The soil looks very dry from those pics. How much moisture is there 2 inches down?
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On 5/16/2015 10:28 PM, Fran Farmer wrote:

I will have to check. I know the water sprinklers come on during the night hours. We just had a recent rain storm (.68 inches) a couple days ago. I wonder if they will be better.
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On 5/16/2015 6:39 AM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

I have no idea. They were there since my family moved here (months). From what I saw and touched, it gets wet during the nightly water sprinklers. When dried from the sun during hot times, then they get hard. I know there are snails, Argentine ants, roly pollies (pill/sow bugs), lizards, coyotes (rarely), etc.

OK, I will try that. I will need to find a way to rip its barks.

That is why I was posting. It is not doing well. It got too big and interfere with this adjacent walkway. I'd say the sun shine in this area from the late morning hours to late afternoon/early evening hours. This area gets way too bright for me to close my window blinds, so I could see my computer monitors. The sun rises behind this white wall among the huge hill with green trees, plants, etc.

Ignore the green leaves in the background. The tree is pretty has no leaves like the other one. :/
Facing this wall, it is about 58 degrees (NE) according to iOS v8.3's compass.
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On Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 2:42:05 AM UTC-4, Ant wrote:

If it was cut back because it was impinging on the walkway and given how tiny it is now, I'd say the problem was that way too much was taken off. It sounds like it went from a substantial bush to just a stick, was severely shocked and is now struggling and may never recover.
The other pic of the small tree, looks like there is a hole in the trunk near the top and also possibly smaller holes in the branches. If so, it probably has a boring insect of some kind. Once they are at work, it's usually over.
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Ah, thanks. I noticed very tiny green leaves growing a few days ago. Maybe it is water related due to the recent cold rain storms. We'll see...
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It had been hot and dry lately (yesterday was almost 100F degrees!), and their leaves turned brown and fell. So, it does look like it is water related. :(
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Ant wrote:

You need to find out. With no information about the conditions any diagnosis of the problem will be a wild guess.

I mean the bark chips on top of the soil not the bark of the tree.

So you hacked it down to little more than a stump? Before pruning it is an idea to find out what the plant is and how to prune it.
Before you cut it what did it look like?
I'd say the sun shine in this

Brick or stone walls reflect a lot of heat and store it until after nightfall. Perhaps the plant is getting baked.

I don't know what that means. Are we talking about the same plant?

This is not clear to me. Do you mean the wall run NE to SW and so you are standing on the SE side of it? Or if you face the wall you are facing NE, that is you are on the SW side of it? I'm confused.
The point is if the sun is mainly on the other side of the wall a short sun-loving plant will never get enough sun to grow well. If the sun is on the same side as the plant it may get baked on hot days. How serious this may be depends on the plnat, the soil and how much water it gets.
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Oh! Ha, I was going to ask how to rip its bark to check. :)

I don't even remember now. :/

Hmm. What about previous heat waves (can get up to 100F degrees!) like last year? Recently, it hasn't been that hot but it is coming again like every year.

Oops. I meant to say "... The tree pretty has no leaves like the other one..." There's a naked small tree, without leaves, in the front of the wall with lots of green plants up the hill.

I was facing this white wall with the iPhone horizontally pointing at it in front of me.

Ah. Hmm, how can we figure out these unidentified plants with very few tiny leaves to know what it wants (less sun, more water, etc.).
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