How do I save my conifers?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Tiago, Mar 19, 2022.

  1. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Hello,

    Could you help me save my conifers, please?

    All of the trees in the photos were bought (sold in pots) approximately 2-3 weeks before the day the photos were taken. They were all planted about 2-3 days after the purchase, as the weather conditions weren't good for planting immediately.

    I've read a lot of blog posts online, but haven't been able to identify the root cause behind why the 3rd and 4th (left-to-right) trees in the photos are very ill (the photos are from about 2-3 weeks ago, the situation is worse now).
    The soil is the same and the amount of watering is the same, but I am amazed that 2 trees in the middle of the row are not doing as well as the others (and vice versa). The other three trees now look as they are in the photos.

    In my attempts to save the 3rd and 4th tree, I took them out and re-planted them (a couple of days after the photos were taken), in the hope that they might survive, if I add a bit more compost and break the surrounding soil a bit more, so that it wouldn't be too hard for the roots to spread. Unfortunately, this hasn't helped at all. I don't think it's made the situation worse either.

    Thank you very much for your time!
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Already dead, and I'd suspect, already effectively dead when you bought them. Get them replaced under their guarantee.
     
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  3. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you very much for your response!
    I have to admit, they all looked the same upon purchase and upon planting, so this is quite surprising to read. Would there have been any signs (e.g., inspecting the roots etc.) that I could've checked for upon purchase, in order to have avoided this?
    Also, is it possible that the illness has spread to the others by now (I see no obvious signs indicating that this may have happened)? And would I need to sanitize the soil, in some way, prior to planting new trees/plants in place of the 3rd and 4th tree?
     
  4. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    What kind of soil do you have there?
    Cypresses like sandy or sandy loam. Mixing in compost may be useful only in case of heavy (clay) soils.

    It looks like the pair of largest trees died. Larger trees are usually harder to plant successfully, their root system often gets more damages and larger crown demands more water to compensate transpiration.

    Cypresses are sensitive to the spring sun. When the soil is still cold, but scorching sun is heating the crown, roots often can't cope with the water need, as it is hard to obtain enough water from cold soil. This case, pouring more water won't help.
    Shading your trees during the most dangerous period would help tremendously. Misting the crown is less effective.
     
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  5. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    BTW, how these trees were sold, bare root or containerized?
     
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  6. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you very much for your response, too!

    The soil is of the heavy (clay) type that you've mentioned. Regarding sun - they're in a north-facing area, and around the time I planted them, there wasn't really that much sunlight, so I think this probably wasn't the main contributing factor (but thanks for bringing this up - I'll definitely try to keep it in mind for future reference). I have to admit that I probably didn't take good enough care for the first 1-2 days (that I mentioned in my original post the weather didn't allow planting outdoors), and it may have been the case that they didn't get enough water back then (provided that they hadn't been already dead, as @Michael F has suggested).

    The trees were all sold in containers/pots.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Although established plantings of yellow Monterey cypresses where I have gone since the one or two unusually cold nights in our region last month look unbothered if your new planting occurred anytime too close to the involved dates either before or afterward then cold damage is very likely to be your problem.
     
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  8. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thanks for your response, @Ron B! Yes, I suspect that may have been one of the contributing factors. However, I don't have a good explanation why the other 3 didn't suffer from the same, especially the small one (5th, from left to right; it's a different species, btw).
     
  9. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Usually smaller trees are more sensitive to frosts, therefore I think it's unlikely a frostbite.
    But how about winds? Was it windy at the time, when trees were waiting planting or were just planted?
     
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  10. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Yes, it was quite windy for at least a week (that's why I didn't plant them immediately). Perhaps the 3rd and the 4th one were more exposed to it, and the 5th one got away because it's much shorter in size and height and, as such, may have been better protected.
     
  11. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Many cypresses are quite sensitive to soil salinity too. I don't know how much chlorides are used in your city, but it is common, that conifers often die near streets and areas where winter anti-slip treatment is mainly spreading of chlorides.
     
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  12. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Yes, I was wondering about the possible differences in soil conditions, too. I have to admit I haven't performed any scientific measurements to check if there is any difference, but the trees themselves are planted (as you can see in the photos) not more than 10 inches apart from each other, and I don't suppose the soil constitution would differ substantially among them (although, I could be wildly wrong).
    Thank you very much for the extremely thoughtful points you've brought up - I can definitely say my understanding of the situation has significantly improved!
     

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