Monkey Puzzle Tree Advice

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Loukas Glyptis, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Loukas Glyptis

    Loukas Glyptis New Member

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    II am writing to seek advice in case you have any. Last June, I decided to plant a monkey puzzle tree (araucaria araucana) in my field/garden (I am located in Chios Island, in North Eastern Aegean Sea in Greece) after it had grown its new shootings. I chose a place where it gets full sun and where the hot sun of the summer would stop affecting it after 17:45 in the afternoon (so as to protect it somehow from the hot sun of the summer). I also laid around it some mulch to keep the roots cool. Please let me say that in Greece during summer, I have to be irrigating the trees (which takes place late at night), as temperatures in my place range between 23 - 36 or even 37 (in some cases) degrees Celsius (during winter and spring temperature ranges from 0 - 23 degree Celsius). While I had read that the tree needs wet but well drained soil, particularly during hot weather, I had programmed my irrigation system to be watering it initially 2 and then 3 times a week for approx. 20minutes each time. I am sure that the soil must have been constantly wet even though it was not getting muddy, at least at the surface. While the tree was doing great until middle August, soon after that it suddenly turned pail and yellowish (it also developed some brown-looking spots in some of its leaves - which I believe is a symptom of overwatering) and eventually it died. Despite of the fungicide that I used and the drastic reduction of its watering, I was unable to save it. The soil in my place has a ph around 7.4, which means it is alkaline but I have read that it does well in a variety of soils.

    As I feel that I did not follow the rule on prudent watering (and given that I have come across in a number of websites that it does not do well when watered too much when the weather is too hot; some websites recommend watering deeply once a week or even once in two weeks during hot weather), I now bought a new one which is rooted in a 3-5lt pot and it is about 70cm tall. Can you please offer any advice on whether:

    1. I should plant it in the same place where it gets full sun from morning time during the summer (around 9am) until about 17:45 OR plant it into a place close to a stream, which although it gets dry during summer, the soil around it retains some moisture?

    2. Watering once a week can save me from losing the tree again and if yes, how much water would be sufficient for a newly planted tree with roots developed in a 3-5lt pot? Would about a 1lt of water be enough once a week during hot weather ranging in the above temperatures?

    3. I plan to plant the tree over the next 20 days now that the we have got some good rain and temperatures are cool to give it a more comfortable start and time to adjust to the local environment.

    4. Should I use mulch again and should I spray it with a fungicide, say three times, as a precautionary measure during spring and summer?

    Any comments are more than welcome. I attach here some picture of my sick monkey puzzle tree (now dead) and also of my young and thriving sequoias. I also attach a panoramic picture where I have circled the planting place of the previous and probably the new tree. An araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Pine of about 4m tall is located 12m away; Norfolk pines do very well on Chios Island. Also, my garden benefits so far from two Colorado spruces (1 of which I may have infested after pruning it a few years ago - yet it is still alive and it is about 4m tall), 2 Norway spruces, which range between 2 and 3m tall, 2 cedar atlantica trees (grey and green leave varieties), which range between 2 and 3m tall and two young sequoia trees (one is the giganteum sequoia and the other is the sempervirens one) which I planted last year and are doing great (in fact doubled in hight within a year).

    Any constructive feedback is more than welcome.
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    My suspicions are that your summers are just too hot for it.
     
  3. Loukas Glyptis

    Loukas Glyptis New Member

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    Oh dear! You are probably very much right! I will try to find a place where it will be getting some shade during the hours of the day... but as you say it may be a tough battle to help it adapt... Thanks very much Michael!
     
  4. Loukas Glyptis

    Loukas Glyptis New Member

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    Is there anything in particular you would like to advise me Michael do other than what I have done in the past? Do you think that I was overwatering the young tree last summer and that it could have been a reason it died? So, should I try watering once a week instead of two or three? What may be misleading during our summers is that the soil may appear dry on the surface, but at less than an inch below, it can be quite wet if you are watering a plant as frequently as I did and for 20mins each time.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Difficult! Something to keep its roots cool, might be the best bet - but it won't be easy. But it's interesting, places that can grow Monkey-puzzle well usually can't grow any other Araucaria, and vice-versa. Perhaps try A. bidwillii or A. angustifolia instead?
     

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