Lost 76 maples this spring....so far.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by banjoboy, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    So far this spring i have lost:
    3ft higasa yama, koto no ito
    2ft shin chishio, shishigashira, peaches and cream, mikawa yatsubusa
    1ft Jerre Schwartz, fairy hair, hupps dwarf
    plus at least 67 4-inch new grafts. These leafed out (just long enough for me to fall in love in with them) then wilted and died.

    What am i doing wrong!! i'm about to give up on my maple hobby. I'm guessing i'm losing these to some kind of root rot or psuedomonas or botrytis. My maples look healthy during the fall and winter then spring time comes and either the buds turn black or i see black patches on the bark (usually at the base or at the graft union. the trees then wilt and die.
     
  2. mattlwfowler

    mattlwfowler Active Member Maple Society

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    I lose a few to this same thing, but I haven't lost any in anything larger than a 1 gal. I think it is some type of soil fungus myself; another possible culprit is phytopthera (although it usually thrives in warmer wet heavy soils). It has been worse after wet winters/early springs.
     
  3. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    my heart weeps for you, banjoboy! I am so sorry this is happening to you.
    the 67 new grafts - were they on rootstock you bought at one time so there could have been a virus/rot etc in that 1 batch of rootstock?
    The 9 other plants you lost - did you graft them or did you buy them from someone?
     
  4. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    thanks for the sympathy. I usually collect my own rootstock from various public parks (free weeding). And most of my older maples were purchased from local nurseries. I would say i grafted 95% of my new grafts. I suffered loses regardless of whether i bought them or grafted them. I always clean my grafting knife. I'll have to look into phytopthera although i use different sources for my potting mix.

    I always use organic methods for fungal control (Serenade) but this maple 'plague' has broken me down and i bought a chemical fungicide. I have used this last year and this year.....nothing seems to help. I spend a lot of time and money tracking down rare maples and then to just have them die.......Its kinda of funny how completely obsessed i get about maples and yet i can't keep them alive. I have been collecting maples for about 6 years and for the first 4 years i only had one maple die!
     
  5. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    do you have a local county ag agent you could ask to visit your yard and check your soil to get a professional opinion?
     
  6. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Well, i just bought my first house outside of corvallis. i'm sure i could find someone here to test my soil. but none of my maples are in the ground yet, they are still all in pots. I thought fungi like verticilium were in the soil and fungi like botrytis and psuedomonas were transmitted through the air.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  7. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I use Bayer Systemic fungicide and it has brought trees back from the brink of death. I swear by it.

    As far as grafts go, it sounds like you're over-watering. You really have to be careful until the grafts are totally leafed out and going strong. This is usually 2 months or more after grafting.
     

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  8. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am sorry to hear this. I do not know what percentage of your 'production' represent those 67 new grafts, but it is enlightening to learn how professional growers fare. This is a well guarded secret but my understanding is that spring lossess of 10-20% are not uncommon, and this is from peole who are suppose to know what they are doing.

    We, maple enthusiasts, have to learn to live with this spring death toll while striving to improve our understanding of what makes the maples grow strong and healthy to better fend off diseases and pathogens. In my case I am very sorry for the loss of a large 10 years old davidii 'Rosalie' to Armillaria and my 6 years old Akegarasu and Kagiri nishiki to Verticillium albo-atrum.

    Gomero
     
  9. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Banjoboy, what can I say... it's really horrible, so sorry to hear it. The black patches sound like pseudomonas, and I don't know any way to heal them when they get installed.

    We've had 2 very cold winters in a row here and I've lost many trees, including many mature ones over 10 feet. I just discovered last weekend that a large carpinifolium has major bark problems near the base. Early this spring I have dug out lots of dead maples, notably large pectinatum 'Alice', Trompenburg, Eddisbury, campestre acuminatilobum which died suddenly for no apparent reason (a large well established shrub). Many other trees had bark damage at -22C but are showing signs of recovery.

    Last weekend a deer destroyed a main architectural branch on Mirte.

    It is very frustrating and I am anxiously awaiting budburst to rekindle my enjoyment.

    I know tales of other's losses is cold comfort at best. Really sorry about your situation.

    -E
     
  10. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Thanks everyone,
    I guess i'll add more bark chips into my potting mix for more air circulation and try to provide better protection from the cold during the winter. I would say the 67 dead grafts are about half of my winter and summer grafts that took from last year. i hardly grafted any this past winter because i thought i had plenty from last year. uggg. hopefully i don't loose everything.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Pathogens can also be transmitted very easily on pruning tools. Very important to sterilise the blades between making each graft.
     
  12. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Well, its almost complete. I would say i have lost about 97% of my maple collection. After talking to some local nurseries i'm pretty sure my loses were from the 8-10 degree weather we had this past winter. Even though i brought them inside our garage. Looks like i'm going to build a greenhouse and hang Christmas lights inside (for heat on cold nights) and start re-building my collection from scratch.

    An interesting observation: my ukigumo (3) and kamagata (2) maples were about the only survivors. Ukigumos where in 1 gallons and kamagata were in 4'' pots. I have noticed that ukigumos seem to be very disease resistant also.
     
  13. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    banjoboy,

    If your survivors were in them pots, were most of your maples in pots I assume? My fatality rate for anything in a pot over the winter is ridiculously high. I'm not even talking grafted trees. Anything that doesn't root readily if you run its branches into the ground. Even trees that are zone 4 hardy don't seem to overwinter in my zone 6 pots.

    I might have had two dozen potted trees, mostly dogwoods. A couple I even buried 3/4 into the soil.

    I think your greenhouse idea would be an excellent choice. What temperature in there are you going for? Do you have to be careful how much light you give them so you don't trick them out of dormancy?
     
  14. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Yes, all my maples were in pots...I just moved to a new house. I live in Oregon and have never had this happen.

    Not sure yet about the green house/lights. I guess my plan is to watch the weather and just plan on turning them on when the weather gets below 20 or so.
     
  15. jwsandal

    jwsandal Active Member

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    banjoboy-

    I lost about 10% of my potted 1 year grafts to what sound like the same funk here in Auburn, AL, and am breaking down and getting the plant tested next week for final diagnosis. I have also purchased Aliette (fungicide) and have had tentative diagnosis of pithium root rot/sudden wilt from a plant pathologist but it has not been tested yet. Your 97% scares me cause I have so many in pots (several hundred more). We had our 3rd coldest winter on record (it was record wet too) but followed by above average spring temperatures but quite dry. Only lost 2 plants older than 1 year grafts but these were both 3 yr old grafts in pots ('Ayogi' and 'Geisha'). My landscape trees dont die or should I say havent died. I routinely use broad spectrum systemic fungicides in my plant care but they clearly did nothing for these trees which makes me suspicious of a soil born fungus or disease.

    The one confusion I have is do you think the cold winter killed the grafts by temperature or created the environment for disease? Just curious for several reasons.

    Also our local land grant college (Auburn University) offers diagnostic services to anyone willing to pay their fee. Maybe you have something local as I am to understand that many fungicides are limited in their scope of action.

    Will keep you posted.

    Justin
     
  16. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Justin,
    After talking to some nurseries I'm pretty sure it was solely from the cold. Seems like a lot of people around here lost a lot of potted maples this past winter.

    I do have a lap on campus that can run tests for me. I actually brought a trompenburg to them last fall, but they didn't want to chop it up because it was in a nice bonsai pot. they told me i had a credit with them but when i brought in another maple this spring they wouldn't honor my credit and i didn't want to pay another 45 dollars.
    I'm pretty satisfied with my "roots freezing" theory. let me know if you find anything out about your situation.
     
  17. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    I'm on the east coast. I have a completely potted collection. Maybe it's not comparing apples to apples because of conditioning or provenance but I've been growing maples in pots for 25 or more years and we get close to 0F every so often.

    Really small pots I protect in trash cans filled with leaves but all the pots on my deck are exposed. In the pic you can see my nutty girlfriend along with a bunch of trees that have overwintered on my deck for up to 12 yrs.

    1 and 2 year grafts are killed rather easily. In my experience I don't lose more young plants in colder winters. This past winter I'm not sure that we dipped below 20F yet I did lose quite a few new grafts. I haven't identified the cause.

    I do feel badly for your loss. It is especially aggravating when you can't be sure why.
     

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  18. sasquatch

    sasquatch Active Member

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    A local grower in the Willamette Valley told me that they lost 80% of their 1-5 gallon sized maples (we're talking about thousands of maples). After talking to an extension agent, the grower thinks that his fertilizer regimen was a bit too rich, and the trees didn't have time to harden off before the December Deep Freeze. We had 11 days below freezing with temps dropping to single digits several times, which is certainly not typical weather around here. All their new grafts were in the greenhouse all winter and did fine, and the larger sized pots all survived. This grower was very experienced with local weather and with growing maples, so don't feel bad that you suffered such losses as well.
     
  19. jwsandal

    jwsandal Active Member

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    My loss is up to 20% now but maybe it is done. Here is my confusion about the winter theory (although we had our 3rd coldest winter on record here in central AL with several hard freezes into the single digits and MANY days below freezing): My greatest losses were in new grafts, both last summer and this spring. They were in trade gallon pots on 2-3 year old root-stock so they were generally larger 1 year grafts. None of my very small root-stock seedlings died in very small 4 inch starter pots. The ones I lost all came out and grew for 2-6 weeks then wilted rapidly and then the root-stock developed black patches like banjoboy described. Anyway, the grafts came out with the same vigor as the survivors and their was no hint that anything was wrong until it was too late. I try to fertilize them the same, at the same time, and water them the same as well. I also use a systemic fungicide that is broad spectrum on a regular basis and I start this regiment every winter when i see the first buds swell.

    I guess I like the idea that the wet and cold winter here, plus my fertilizing habits, plus my overwatering habits this spring created the 'perfect storm' for a secondary disease or pathogen to take over. Either way, I am going to make some big changes in the variables I can control this year and next and see.

    I am accustomed to always losing a few each year and not whining too much about 20% as some of you have had much worse years this year (97% loss probably would have made me take up another hobby).

    As a side note, a very large and old grower with a huge cultivar list lost 80% of their plants this year (estimated to be upwards of around 10000 plants) in Oregon from what they are calling winter conditions; Jon and Del Loucks nursery.

    Justin
     
  20. Acer Glade

    Acer Glade Member

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    In my >20yrs with momiji cultivation as a hobby, I recommend propagating from seeds. Grafted specimens're very susceptible to the 'black death'. Clean your tools regularly with heat, do not over water, feed minimally, bubble wrap pot and mulch so roots do not get frozen and the cells collapse like vegetable kept in fridge too long. Incinerate the contaminated soil suspect. Last winter in England was the worst in 50years and I have not lost any of my 60 collections.
    Persevere and report back. Good luck.
     
  21. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    Hey, Banjoboy, my heart goes out to you. What a heartbreaking story. I, too, live in Oregon, though somewhat south of you, and I am experiencing some similar problems in my maple garden, though not to the extent you are having to live through. But I do have some observations which I hope will be helpful to you. Last December we had a polar front move through that put temperatures at my house at 5Ëšover a few days, certainly unusually cold for this area. I'm certain this created frost damage to many of my plants. Then we had here in Oregon the warmest January ever on record, and February was also warmer than normal. My maples were putting out leaf buds very early indeed, and of course then March/April were extremely cold and rainy. This is the perfect storm for fungi and bacteria.

    Many of my plants were extremely stressed with winter injury by the December freeze, coaxed by the warm Jan/Feb temps into thinking spring was here, then when their leaf buds were at their most vulnerable, they were drenched with rain, hail, snow, cold temps and awful conditions which favor fungi and bacteria. My plants leafed out early this year, but then I began to notice quickly signs of pseudmonas syringae (which always seems to flourish in wet, cool conditions). The signs were black stem cankers, black terminal stems, etc. The best preventive for this disease, by the way, is to keep young plants from freezing, but I suspect it was impossible for you to do that this year. But I think this is what probably is at the base of your problem.

    Secondly, you mentioned black patches on the bark usually at the base or at the graft union, and that sounds a lot like water mold (phytophthera) to me -- root rot where fungi or cankers can be found on the stem just above the soil line. I don't know about what you experienced, but for me, March and April were so incredibly rainy that I put my potted plants on my deck with bricks under them so the rain could run through the soil but not stay there. Were your plants placed on already wet soil, I'm wondering? If yes, that would maybe lead to phytophthera which can pretty quickly rot the roots if the water in the pots cannot drain away easily.

    I am so sorry by your loss. I have around 450 JMs, and about 20 of them are in distress right now from the above-mentioned afflictions, and I'm certain (from where they are placed in my garden) that they are experiencing diseases now that are secondary to the freezing conditions last December.

    Don't give up the good fight.

    mapledia
     
  22. banjoboy

    banjoboy Active Member

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    Mapledia,
    Yes I think you described what happened to my maple collection almost exactly. I'm in the process of building a greenhouse for my young maples and i plan on putting all my (future) older maples in the ground to try and prevent frost damage.

    I'm down to about a dozen maples in 4 inch pots. thats all i have remaining. Although, i did find a very nice 1gallon shishigashira for 8 dollars! i've made it out to Del's Japanese maples to buy some favorites and i'm collecting lots of rootstock to graft onto.

    Hopefully this last winter isn't our new typical winter.

    ps. strange thing, my girlfriend (who isn't nearly as obsessed with maples as me) had a whole tray of new 4'' grafts and not a single one died. it must have been in a little micro climate closer to our house.
     
  23. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    Hey banjoboy, I'm with you, I hope this past winter isn't typical. I think your greenhouse idea is great (though they are a lot of work). New grafts are fragile, and they can't handle a lot of stress like all our plants did this past winter/spring in Oregon. Nearly all my trees are showing some signs of stress from the hot/cold, wet/dry conditions, and I'm having a devil of a time trying to get them to feel good about themselves once again. Just remember all maples need good drainage and I think you'll have much better luck next year. Don't ever let a container sit in saturated soil!

    I normally keep my first year plants in a warmer and somewhat drier place than the older ones in the ground to prevent root rot and to prevent temperature extremes. Even the younger plants that are in the ground occasionally get covered with a glass cloche or something similar to protect them from really cold weather or miserable winds. So your greenhouse might do the trick for you.

    If any of your now-deceased plants show some signs of life, I'd suggest you spray them with an anti-fungal sulfer spray to see if they might come back to life. This has occasionally been successful for me, so watch them to see if this might happen.

    Mostly, though, I want you to know that what has occurred is not your fault. It wasn't from neglect. The weather was just the perfect storm for making all our trees leaf out prematurely, then get hit with wet/cold weather, and that's when the fungi take over and try to kill anything that's still alive. I'm preparing now for the second wave of insects that will also want to feed on the necrotic tissue. It's always something.

    So glad to hear that you haven't given up. Contact me next January and I'll be happy to provide you with some exotic and rare scion wood to get you excited about your maples once again.

    mapledia
     
  24. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    Just wanted to add that a prior entry noted Del Loucks, a very well-respected veteran of the maple business with huge experience in the industry, lost a very large percentage of his fabulous maple collection this winter. Reason? Many of his trees hadn't hardened off prior to the horrible December deep freeze we experienced. I feel sad for him, because Del has been a stalwart maple pioneer and good friend. I've offered scion wood from my garden to him to get him back to his feet and want him to prosper in the future. If this can happen to Del, it can happen to any of us.
    mapledia
     
  25. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    I was speaking with another one of the large growers of japanese maples in Oregon and he told me about whole sections of plants were victims to this winter. Some of the important mother trees also found their way into the burn pile. I suffered major damage to three of my large specimen trees and about 10 or so 10 gallon size trees bit the dust. I feel pretty good out of this winter since I have over 600 trees in pots. We had some snow last month that burnt the leaves on a few of the dwarfs but did very little damage to the other trees. A week or so ago I had a couple days of strong wind which did a lot of leaf damage to some of my bigger trees which were fresh B&B from this last winter. I have been told a 2% loss per year is to be expected but some years are just more cruel than others. The year before last was tough on trees due to the large amount of snow, maybe it did not kill the trees but in the cases where whole greenhouses crashed down on the trees, huge numbers of trees were lost. Never get discouraged, the beauty and interest of the trees will always make up for the loss.
    Oh by the way banjoboy, avoid koi they much worst, they are more expensive and die at a rediculious rate. Still it is no fun to hear about your losses but remember you are not alone. The last few years have been very hard and many growers have suffered huge losses.
     

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