Blue atlas cedar needles

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by ddow, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. ddow

    ddow Member

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    I am new to this site so be patient if I am not doing this right...

    My question is...

    I planted a Weeping Blue Atlas Cedor in southern NJ (USA) back in May of this year. Since then about 90% of the needles have fallen off. If I scrape the ends of the branches with my finger nail it looks green (which) I asume is a good sign. Can you give me any input as to what may be wrong? Will the needles come back as the season moves into the fall/winter/spring? Is the tree dying? Do you think it will survive. ddow@nac.net David Dow
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi David:

    Tell me how the tree looks now. My prognosis
    is not good with that much needle loss. I had
    the same thing happen to me years ago with
    a plant that I did not want to lose, a Cedrus
    brevifolia. Some people call it Cedrus libani
    'Brevifolia' but I've seen both plants, actually
    I've grown both plants and they are not quite
    the same. That should send the die hard Conifer
    enthusiasts and perhaps the taxonomists as well
    reeling into a tizzy!

    At any rate, what I would do is start giving
    your tree a good shower of water. If you
    have mites then you may be able to knock
    them off but I suspect you have something
    other going on as well. Read this UBC post
    and look for borer damage. I just found several
    flat head borers hiding under the flaking bark
    of my Maple leafed Sycamore so I know the
    borers have indeed hatched already.

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=3270

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2004
  3. bandlranch

    bandlranch Member

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    By the way, did your Blue Atlas Cedar live? I have the same problem with total needle loss, but the branches are green underneath the thin layer of bark. I just planted my tree about 2 weeks ago.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    No leaves on an evergreen conifer = major discontent. Here I have seen Cedrus partially defoliated by aphids, there may also be a needle fungus around. (On a tour of a facility east of Vancouver some years ago it was pointed out by D. Tarrant, UBC that Cedrus were getting adelgids there--but their work is characterized by deformity of the trees, rather than defoliation).

    Cedrus libani var. brevifolia and Cedrus brevifolia are botanical names for the same wild population of varying individuals. Cv. 'Brevifolia' would be a mistake for var. brevifolia. If somebody is marketing a clonal selection as 'Brevifolia' then that would be best given a new name.
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    One of my blue atlas cedars completely defoliated when it was planted early spring about 8-9 years ago. It pushed new needles and is now near 20' tall and growing well. I have seen other Cedrus atlantica do this when field dug/ balled and burlapped, and they usually will push new growth with no trouble. If they defoliated after the spring bud push, then that is bad news and probably spells doom for the tree.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Specimen in question described as having been 90% leafless since last May.
     
  7. gramma

    gramma Member

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    I also have a major problem with my Blule Atlas Cedar. It is about 15 years old and it was on the property I acquired 3 summers ago. Each summer about this time some of the needles on the outer branches turned brown. This year in the last week of May is was completely green and healthy looking; one week later the top layer of needles are completely brown and from a distance it appears that the entire tree is dead because you cannot see the green ones underneath. Even at that the branches are very sparse with green. The branches do not appear to be brittle, the needles are just dying. comments please...........
     

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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Many blue Atlas cedars around here are showing this scattered dieback now. A nursery worker that asked me about it said he was told by some parks employees (working in a facility that has several old blue cedars planted in a low area) that it was root rot. Also said he looked it up in a plant problem book and got "environmental stress." Maybe that wet March we had brought it on.
     
  9. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    Tip Blight is pretty common on Atlas Blue Cedars and cleans up pretty easy with copper or funginex. A lot of calls I get to look at these same symptoms end up being that there landscaper put mulch too far up the trunk. In the pic above, was that a large branch cut off down near the bottom? As for the pic your tree looks like it doesn't like it's environment, abiotic things like soil, drought, water, or could possibly be some kind of blight, or a major cut. Doesn't really look like spider mites from a visual point of view to me. To really tell the difference from environmental stress and Blights it's a good idea to get a sample lab tested. Thats my opinion, Jim.
     
  10. gramma

    gramma Member

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    thank you for your input. I don't recall that we trimmed any main branches from this tree. There has been in the past, branches cut but the cutting looks rather old. The winter of 2004 was extemely dry here in the Northwest and last winter was extemely wet. I've been showering it from the top since it turned brown and there doesn't appear to be additional browning. the spikes that have the brown needles still seem to be alive. If it is root rot is there something that can be done? I may call in an arborist to look at it. I think I will keep nurturing it and see what happens over the next year.
     
  11. Preecher

    Preecher Member

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    The exact same thing is happening to my blue atlas cedar as Gramma's. About 60% of the needles have gone brown, worse on thinner branches and as you near the trunk. Was there ever a verdict / resoluction? I am contacting an arborist tomorrow at a woodinville nursery that is supposed to be very good. If I learn anything I will post.
     
  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Cedrus libani var. brevifolia and Cedrus brevifolia are botanical
    names for the same wild population of varying individuals. Cv.
    'Brevifolia' would be a mistake for var. brevifolia. If somebody
    is marketing a clonal selection as 'Brevifolia' then that would be
    best given a new name.


    Here is where we run into some problems and it is not the first
    time either. Cedrus brevifolia is recognized and Cedrus libani
    'Brevifolia'
    is also recognized. I can go one step further in that
    a selected form was also called Cedrus brevifolia var. brevifolia
    and this plant came from a well known source in England and
    was also recognized by Mr. Humphrey Welch. All three were
    recognized in Europe at one time. Saw all three at a bonsai
    show in May. I still have two of them.

    Other than secondary borers to come in after a Blue weeper
    has been weakened, what from a growers standpoint, causes
    the most deaths of this plant worldwide? Yet few people have
    studied this phenomenon to recognize it. I cannot recommend
    this tree coming from a b&b growing source in Oregon in
    which they are field grown in a heavy clay soil. Silt okay
    but not clay. What many people will feel is a root rot is
    actually a lack of water able to penetrate into the center
    of the b&b rootball. Set a rootball in a large bucket of
    water for two hours sometime and then break the rootball
    open to see if the center of the rootball is even wet. It is
    exactly this water versus soil relationship is what kills
    many of our Dogwoods within the first three years we
    have them. We can supersaturate and still lose them
    due to lack of water and we do not know that until we
    have broken into the rootballs to see where the water
    had been going. The real reason I broke every rootball
    from a b&b Oregon growing source plant that came into
    the nursery. Did not matter what the plant was either.
    Which is why I even broke the rootballs of plants we
    bought that were b&b plants in 24" and two 36" boxes
    as I knew for them to live I had to help them out some,
    even at the expense of the misses being rather upset at
    me for doing it but all of those plants are still alive 14
    years later and have adapted in the process.

    I will say that Tip blight can be dealt with and am pleased
    that somene realizes that much of the time we are dealing
    with a result of stress to the tree. An accumulated, over
    time, mite infestation can also be a problem with these
    trees and I believe someone mentioned that for Spruce
    one way to cut down on the mite damage is to overhead
    water them or give them sprays of water. Hmm, no need
    for a chemical spray at all much of the time if we know
    when our invaders will and usually do arrive. Dry needles
    can be subject to a host of problems and one of the biggest
    concerns in several but not all locations is wind blown
    dust that bring in little critters that will host on the dry
    needles and tender shoots.

    Jim
     
  13. Ctguinn13

    Ctguinn13 New Member

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    Someone mentioned environmental stresses prior. I am graduate with a Bachelors degree in soil science and horticulture. Anytime you plant or transplant a tree, shrub, flower, or any plant, there is a given potential for stress.

    I have an example I want to tell everyone. Recently I purchased three blue atlas 'Horstmann' cedars for a group planting. There are several local nurseries to choose from, which allows me to select the 'best' looking trees. All three were b&b, two from one nursery and one from the other. The one I chose from one nursery had been hardened off for a year, then other two balled and burlapprd that season. The one which had been hardened off (roots growing out of the burlap) , took immediately and is by far the best of the three. Out of the other two, one lost nearly all of its needles once planted, and the other took about a month after planting to start to show signs of establishment (new growth) and after losing around 25-35% of its needles.

    Again bottom line is anytime you plant a tree make sure the tree 'knows' it is being moved (hardened off, active root growth, green stems, etc). If you are planting in mid winter (I'm zone 7, late January to early March) with a direct to direct method using a tree spade it is much less of an issue.

    I just read what I wrote and I seem to rant. Trees will shock if not hardened off well and subjected to different environment vs. what they have been grown in ir stored in, hence they will lose their needles or leaves and most of the time put new growth on with proper watering and fertilization. This includes making sure there is adequate free available moisture and maybe a dash of a non burning low nitrogen soil drench like a fish emulsion to give the plant a very little something to get going again.

    Please feel free to comment and good luck. As one of my favorite professors told me, "Plants will make a liar of me".
     
  14. Singerislandoasis

    Singerislandoasis New Member

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    We got down to 0 but we have had that in the past. I didn't see anything really unusual then past winters. Just seemed like the cold lasted longer.
     

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