Brugmansia Yellowing and Losing Leaves

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by BillO, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    Hello

    I'm looking for help for our Brugmansia. For 15+ years our Brugmansia has thrived in front of our house. This year it started massively losing leaves after a hot summer. I'm looking for a way to bring it back before I fear it dies. I did have an arborist who injected some nutrients in the roots and I've been watering it more assertively for the past three weeks. We are located in San Francisco.

    Links to photos from a few years ago and now below.

    Dropbox - AngelsTrumpet_09012008.jpg - Simplify your life

    Dropbox - AngelsTrumpet_01152019.jpg - Simplify your life

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  2. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Beautiful Brug! That looks perhaps temperature related. Do you know what your lowest temps have been like this year? I heard you got down to freezing last January, how did it fair back then? Has this been a wetter January than usual for you? Sometimes that combination of extended cold & wet can set them back in the winter. Also, the tree is very mature and possibly it is to the age where each time it gets stressed in winter it will now be less and less able to use it's youthful vigor to overcome it.

    I would make sure your watering+rain is not in excess of previous years, and wait it out for warmer temps to bounce this one back. :)
     
  3. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    Hi Tom, in San Francisco probably 45. January has been dryer and we had a dry, hotter than normal summer. There are some good new growth at the bottom. Based on a couple other forums, I did a week of fertilizer and good watering and will now see what happens. The other factor is that we have a tree near the street which casts a shadow on the Brug from 10 am to 3 pm. It is a bright shade though vs deep shade so I'm not sure that is causing the issue. I did do some pruning and removed about 2-3 feet from the top. new photo here

    AngelsTrumpet_aftertrimming_02012020 - 1.jpg
     
  4. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Bright shade is often close to ideal for these. If it was a straight lack-of-sunlight problem, usually we would expect the pattern to be opposite, where the fuller leaves are at the top, dying out underneath.

    Is it possible though to prune the bigger shading tree a little to allow some more morning sun? That morning sun bakes the San Fran fog dew off a little. Sometimes if morning dew is not evaporated off, these can be slightly more susceptible to fungal problems; which is also true for older plants like this at maturity and also true for plants like this at the edge of their cold tolerance. .

    I would propose that's not great advice about the fertilizer. I know Brugs are complete fertilizer pigs, but fertilizer helps a healthy growing plant grow even better. It never helps a sick plant start growing. It could help the undergrowth take off even better, but it will not help, and possibly hurt just a little for the upper portion. Never fertilize a sick plant. :)
     
  5. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    The other tree has been there for awhile too but I am looking into thinning it out. On fertilizing, two arborists and a couple other forums said the opposite :(

    Here are some closeups of leaves ...

    2020-01-30 11.29.42.jpg 2020-01-30 11.29.55.jpg 2020-01-30 11.30.03.jpg
     
  6. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    2+ weeks later (regular watering and fertilizer). There is an area of normal looking Brugmansia near the bottom though the top 2/3 still looks sparse. Any thoughts ?
    Brugmansia_02232020 - 2 (1).jpg Brugmansia_02232020 - 1 (1).jpg
     
  7. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Perhaps think of the cause in two different ways. There is of course a specific cause, like chlorosis/iron deficiency, broadmites, virus, frost damage, etc.; or a maybe combination of some of these. However, no matter the specific cause, we still must note that the lower basal shoots are growing adequately, but not the much older tree portion. So whatever the specific cause, it seems the more important overall cause relates to the age of the tree. This is about full, mature age for these. That upper portion will probably bounce back and look better once it warms up, but I would expect each winter to get worse for that older tree portion (on average, depending on weather & other conditions).

    Those basal shoots are still connected to the older tree. Together they make up one plant, and in their own way plants "think" and calculate. They can definitely make a decision to focus their energy away from an older senescent portion and make a new push towards the young healthy shoots. Almost all plants do this. They can strip nutrients away from an older portion and transfer it to the part with more promise. So what I'm trying to say is that even though it may bounce back and look ok this summer, I suggest it's time to start looking at those basal shoots and see which one(s) will work the best for your new replacement tree.

    Back to the specific cause, perhaps look closely at your plant and compare it to some photos of the Colombian datura virus.
     
  8. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    thank you!
     
  9. BillO

    BillO New Member

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    Hi, the upper portion didn't bounce back much so I've trimmed it further.......

    AngelsTrumpetMay2020 - 1.jpg AngelsTrumpetMay2020 - 2.jpg
     

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