What's Wrong With My Tree?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Johnny Angell, May 23, 2009.

  1. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    We planted a decorative cherry tree in the front yard. It's a Yoshi something or other. It had been doing well, but in the last 1-2 weeks the leaves have started shriveling. We have had a lot of rain lately, so I don't think it's a lack water, maybe too much? Or a lack of fertilizer or...? Ideas are appreciated.

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  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    If the tree was planted recently (in the past month), it could just be shock. It's something most trees go through when transplanted, and they recover in a few months.

    But planting a tree too low into the ground causes this kind of wilt, too. I see nothing to indicate that you planted it too low, but I'd really have to have seen it in its original container to make that determination.

    Too much water could also do this, especially if the hole you planted it in had compressed soil around its circumferece, usually caused by leveraging the shovel against the side of the hole while digging. Compressed soil won't percolate as well, and such holes tend to hold water like a swimming pool, effectively drowning the roots. If this is the cause, some dry weather is all it would take to reverse the condition.

    I'm sorry, that's all I know.
     
  3. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    It has rained a lot here and it has been newly planted about a 45 days ago. This decline started about 1-2 weeks ago. My neighbor had one of those moisture sensors (the probe might be a foot long). No matter where we stuck it, the soil was at least moist.

    He suggested digging up the tree and replanting so that the tree was above ground level. I guess the roots won't have spread out too much in 45 days. I could get some additive for shock when I do it.

    Edit: Also notice the tree is in the middle of the lawn. I haven't started watering the lawn but will do so soon. Which means the tree will get wetter. I should also mention this is an ornamental cherry tree.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I'm going to go with Brian and say shock. I had a similar problem with a couple of maples I had planted in my yard a few years ago. They looked great for a few weeks and then started to wilt and the leaves began getting black around the edges.

    Even the following summer, they still had a few droopy leaves but they've been growing fine ever since.

    I wouldn't replant it, personally. Make sure it's well watered and mulched.. if planted properly, It's difficult to over water a tree.

    Keep an eye on it and hang onto the receipt... most nurseries have a 1 year warranty on trees. Sometimes they're just not happy and they croak. They're pretty well pampered in the nursery and sometimes they need to toughen up a bit in the new soil.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Another, more remote possibility is that some disease has struck the tree. Are there any other trees of this type in your neighborhood, and are they exhibiting the same symptoms?

    In the 14 years we've lived in this house, we have lost four different trees to disease (ash, thundering plum, white birch, and an evergreen of some type). In each case, there were other similar trees in the area that also died. This spring alone, I had to take down the evergreen and thundering plum. [​IMG]
     
  6. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I took a cutting into Lowes and asked for their tree expert. He immediately identifed the type of tree (cherry) and said it was probably disease and insects. He recommend Bayer Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed. It's a liquid you dilute into water and pour around the tree. It's supposed to protect from disease and insects for 12 months.

    He also recommended pruning and I told him if I pruned all the diseased parts, I'd be left with a stick[​IMG] He recommend pruning 1/4 off, so that's the next step.

    The instructions said don't use the stuff if the soil is very wet. I'd be waiting a long time for that to happen, so I went ahead and administered. I haven't seen any improvement yet, but the stuff is systemic so I imagine it takes awhile.

    This stuff says you can use it on fruit trees (except those in pots) and it kills bugs. I'm a little leary of doing that. Fortunately, this is a decorative cherry tree so that's not an issue.
     
  7. Eden Keeper

    Eden Keeper Auditioning

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    If saturated soil didn't cause it then apparently either weed killer (note possible ring of dead grass at the edge of mulch indicating glyphosate use) did, or the roots starved when (hidden) damage by (peach) borers or anything else (including rough handling, a disease vector such as wet mulch touching the trunk, etc.) effectively girdled (removed the bark in a ring around) a tree thus destroying (cutting/breaking/clogging) the phloem (in most trees, except palms, it is the living inner portion of bark that transports food throughout the plant). Thin barked trees such as this are particularly susceptible to such bark damage especially since it was new and needed to become established by growing more roots (than leaves, which nitrogen fertilizer and pruning would stimulate), while glyphosate is most effective on vigorously growing plants like this tree growing roots where the herbicide application (if any) occurred. The equivalent of an inch of rain applied (in the morning to take advantage of dew and avoid problems such as evaporation during the hottest part of the day and fungal disease if done near dusk thus staying wet all night) only once per week (if needed due to lack of rain) is sufficient irrigation to get most landscape plants established.

    The Cooperative Extension Service and the related Master Gardener volunteer program (for Arkansas it is at http://www.uaex.edu/ then look under Home and Garden) is a better source of information than an "expert" who may just be trying to sell something. One of the first things they will probably say is that following the instructions on a pesticide label is very important, since (besides the legal implications listed) not doing so could lead to products being banned, which in some cases could be the only chemical means to control certain pest/weeds. Unfortunately the blame often goes to farmers who use bulk amounts although sparingly and only if/when needed since any more is ineffective, costly, and thus wasteful, while all the individual homeowners who think if a little is good then more is better add up to release more chemical fertilizers and pesticides on average per acre if not in total than the farmers.
     

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