Help - Acer Palmatum 'Osakazuki' illness

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Veronie76, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Please help me to find the reason why my Acer is ill, Im struggling with him since the spring.
    I have an Acer Palmatum 'osakazuki' on the balcony in a large pot, in shade. My struggles started when in the spring about half of the tree remained without leafs, than most of the young leafs had died from one day to another. Than new soots appeared, some of them got 40 cm(!!!) long within a few weeks, I thought everything is going to be ok.

    However recetly appeard a new type of problem, the leafs started to dry-out (I dont know a better word for it). It starts from the edges of the leafs and within two-three days the leaf is dead and it spreads around rapidly.
    It starts like this:
    IMG1121.jpg
    ...and soon after this the leaf falls-off.

    I took the pictures to some nursery but noone knows what the problem could be, some told me its sunburn but since the plant is in shade its not an option...
    Recently I took the plant out of the pot to see the roots, I haven't seen anything, apart from the fact that there is no sign of new roots (the plant got a new pot early spring).

    Many thanks for any comments, idea. :)

    Veronie
     
  2. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Ciao Veronie,

    Is there a color change in the twigs/branches where the leaves shrivel and die?
    Make a cut of one of those branches and observe the cross section. Then read the FAQ on Verticillium Wilt in this forum.

    Gomero
     
  3. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Ciao Gomero,

    Thanks for the answer.
    No, there is no color change. Only one time happened, that there was a small twig with 6-7 leafs, those leaves changed color from one day to another, turned deep red and than within 3 days they dried out the same way as the others. Im quite confused to be honest, I have no idea what could it be...
    Im brand new here, where do I find the FAQ?
     
  4. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Hi,

    Ive found the FAQs and read about Verticillium Wilt. Could be, I'll have a closer look this evening and I'll make some new photos.
    If it is VW is there any cure? Ive read some article in a rush, it was written that there is limited cure for this disease unfortunately, but you might give me some advice how could I keep this tree alive, its so nice....
    Many thanks
    Veronika
     
  5. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    hi Veronika
    send pics,of branch and trunk..
    ciao
    alex
     
  6. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Many thanks alex, I'll take more pics and will send it.
    V
     
  7. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Hi,
    I took some photos last evening:
    IMG_1220.jpg
    IMG_1226.jpg
     
  8. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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  9. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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  10. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    the only way for me is several prune or better remove the left branch,and see in next week,the color of rigth branch if remain green OK , after use a copper solution.for jm is very important the correct umidity conditions of the soil ,remove a little stone around the trunk and use pine bark(small size)if possible buy one umidity tester,for correct time of watering.
    ciao
     
  11. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I would remove the left trunk entirely as soon as possible. Try to ensure no areas of black bark remain around the wound, to prevent possible infection of the rest of the plant. Good luck.
     
  12. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Hiya,
    I don't see the striations that would indicate vert wilt. I wanted to ask if you had fertilized it with anything - macro or micro nutrients - or tried to change the pH. Even time release ferts can burn when the weather gets warm. Is it really windy where you are? Also, when the leaves dry up and fall off - is there any new growth coming out anywhere on the tree?
     
  13. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Looking at the pics again I see A LOT of new growth all over the tree - big fast shoots too. My guess is that it got a little too much fertilizer. That will cause the leaves to do exactly as yours are doing at the moment. In addition to frying up the leaves, that can really exacerbate any problem your tree might have. The darkened area on the trunk is worrysome though. It was smart to remove that branch.
     
  14. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Looking at the pictures, my guess is that the tree is affected by Verticillium albo-atrum. It is a vascular disease that chokes off entire branches and sometimes the whole tree. There is no treatment. As already suggested, cut the darkened branches to healthy wood but be very careful to disinfect your pruners before each cut to avoid propagating the disease. Repeat if new branches are affected. The tree will try to compartmentalize the disease cutting off vascular communication between affected and healthy tissue. It also send out new shoots to 'compensate' lost branches. I have maples which were affected 5-7 years ago and, after a lot of disfiguring, they made it to a nice shape again. If you cannot wait that long and you want a nice looking tree now, then discard it and buy a new one (do not reuse the potting mix which is most likely contaminated;)
    Good luck

    Gomero
     
  15. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Hi there,

    Yes, Im using time release nutrients that in fact does change a bit of the PH as it is for plants those need acidic soil. Its not too windy normally, but to tell the truth we are on the 8th floor, and it was a bit windy in the last few weeks, but not before. Also, the balcony where the Acer lives is bordered by three walls and it is sitting in a corner, so does not get too much wind, neither too much direct sunlight.
    When the leaves fall off there is indeed new growth, now Im watching them approx. 10 times a day how they are doing, if they are are showing any sign of growth or they drying out, but until now they are fine.

    Thanks a lot for the help! :)
    Veronie
     
  16. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Thanks. :)
    Well, Im not really good in throwing away plants, so until it shows any sign of life I'll do whatever I can to save it.
    I did cut back the whole left side of the plant, now he has quite a bad look, but hope it will survive.
    :)
    Veronie
     
  17. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Well, as a grower at a commercial nursery, I know time release fert well. Maples need almost no fertilizer - and whatever you use, its best to use something organic that has no numbers above 9 - like 9-9-9 (Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Potassium or NPK ratio - my apologies if you already know all this!)... And even then, unless it is specifically designed for maples, I would only use it at half the recommended rate.

    Time release fert will just sort of sit there until the weather reaches a warm temp. Sometimes if you get very hot temps, it can dump a lot of fert on your tree accidentally - especially if the pot is in direct sun and warms excessively for any period of time in a day. Acidifying the soil at the same time just lets the nutrients be more readily absorbed - a one-two punch. This is okay for most plants but maples hate it.

    If you can see the fert at the soil line, I would try to remove as much as you can. (Even if the problem is not too much fert, feeding a weakened or sick tree only stresses it further.) Then each time you water make sure you see water flowing out of the bottom of the pot. This will help rinse the salts out of the soil. Try to stick with this practice until your tree looks and acts normal again. If you are a real go getter, you can simply repot the tree in fresh soil with no fert.

    Unfortunately, I know first hand what too much fert does to maples. I learned the hard way myself, with my own collection. :) But your leaves - the crispy critters that change color a bit and then fall off when simultaneously there is new, rapid growth - are showing exactly the same symptoms as over-fert. And we don't really want rapid growth because it is usually weaker and often loses the choice characteristics that made us want that gorgeous maple in the first place. The internodes (spaces between the sets of leaves on a stem) stretch out making for a "leggy" plant.

    Honestly, I don't know about that dark spot, but IMHO and experience, I don't see wilt. As I know it, "wilt" would show as just that - wilted leaves and no new growth - so I am a little unsure of that diagnosis. That said, there are major experts in this forum that have responded to your thread, and I sincerely respect their expertise. God knows they have helped me!! But truly, there are a world of things that could have caused that spot, but wilt will also show dark striations in the wood. If you didnt see any dark stripes under the bark, you are likely in the clear. I hope all it is is over fert, as that is easy to remedy.
     
  18. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Thanks Katie! :)
    Im indeed thinking of cutting back the plant and change the pot too, at this stage it would do only good.
    Im not quite sure what soil to use though. Im using often a stuff that I dont know whats the name of in English, it is like peat, but made of coconut. The PH is neutral, does not contain any nutrients either. It dries out fast, but easyer to controll the humidity of the soil. Or I will just use normal soil, but Im always afraid that it is infected.
    Do you have any suggestion?

    :)
    Veronie
     
  19. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    You are most welcome, Friend. I am truly happy to share, in hopes of helping even the tiniest bit. :)

    I use a mixture of potting soil, pine bark chips, and mineral-rich sand. I do use organic materials in the soil - like earthworm castings and rock phosphate, but I also make sure to apply beneficial microbes - mycorrhizae, which helps to strengthen the tree by protecting roots from those soil borne bad guys. I know many use a "soilless mix" and have success. I just try, as much as possible, to recreate the soil conditions that maples live in naturally, but adding bulky bits like bark chips/pearlite and sand for extra drainage and stable soil structure in pots.

    My best advice is to ENSURE that the soil drains really well - no matter which substance you choose to plant in. You should never water the tree and have water pooling on the soil surface, but it sounds like you know this and are off to a great start with the coco-peat. That is a great product, but is hard to come by in my area.

    Be careful not to chop your tree too much. If you can only remove the part with the black spot - which you have done - that is best. Cutting too much of the tree at once can stress the tree tremendously, which is something you want to avoid. The rule of thumb is no more than 1/4 of the total tree size at any one time. It is better to snip a little bit at a time, any time except when the tree is dormant. I think the saying is "prune little and often" with maples.

    When you repot, be very gentle with the roots and try to disturb them as little as possible. If you can find it, a liquid or dehydrated seaweed product would be great to use before and after you repot. The major brand over here is called Maxicrop. The seaweed has very little nutritive value and cannot burn the plant, but is full of plant hormones than can REALLY help a stressed-out plant. It has worked miracles for me and I ALWAYS recommend it.

    I hope that is useful information to you. :) Ask whatever you like - if I don't know either, I'll help us both find out. :)
     
  20. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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  21. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Hi Katie,

    Thanks a lot! :)
    Im trying to find out how do these materials called in Italy (mycorrhizae, earthworm castings), it sounds interesting, and Ive never used these before.
    I'll look for the seaweed product as well, hope I'll find it. For exaple I bring the perlite from Hungary, because in italian nurseries I just cant find it, they are telling me that its not commonly used here.... :)

    Veronie
     
  22. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    Katie,

    Which Maxicrop product do you recommend? Ive seen many different products from them...
    Thanks
    Veronie
     
  23. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    The plain 'ol seaweed. In smaller sizes it comes in a blue bottle. I buy it by the gallon because I have so many plants!! I know there are some that come with iron and with fish emulsion - but you need just the plain stuff. If it is something that you are buying online and will have to ship - get the dehydrated/water soluble kind that you mix with water as you use it. This product comes in a tall white jar. Are you looking at a website? If you send me the link I can tell you by product number, if you like.
     
  24. Veronie76

    Veronie76 Member

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    For example: http://www.capitalgardens.co.uk/v3/original-seaweed-extract-plant-growth-stimulant-p-8875.html

    but Ive found also the soluble kind as well on amazon.com. This seems to be a plain one.
     
  25. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    Yeah, that's it!

    The ORIGINAL formula is what you want. It usually has a green bottle.

    The blue bottle is the seaweed with iron and the yellow bottle is the fish stuff.

    Very smart to get the dehydrated kind if you have to pay for shipping! :)
     

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