monkey puzzle tree disease?

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Unregistered, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. We have a monkey puzzle tree in Victoria, BC which is about 12 feet tall. It currently has 2 lower branches that are brown, another branch that is partly brown and the brown appears to be creaping up the trunk.

    Last year we noticed white sap? had run out of the bottom of the trunk.

    Can you please tell me what might be wrong and what I might do about the condition?

  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Vancouver, Canada
    Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) sometimes sheds lower branches when conditions are not ideal for growth. For example, the species is not shade adapted nor tolerant of poorly drained soils or poor air circulation. While it is somewhat drought tolerant, the last few years have been extremely stressful, even for many established plants. Monkey puzzle do not have the ability to shed individual leaves, so under conditions of root distress or inadequate moisture, entire branches are shed.

    Disease is also a possibility -- Pestalotiopsis funerea is a common conifer pathogen that infects Araucaria species; however, it is primarily an opportunistic pathogen; i.e., it usually only takes advantage of an already dire situation. It is difficult to be authoritative about diseases of plants from superficial descriptions of symptoms (even trained horticultursts may not have the tools or experience to make a accurate diagnosis). Chances are that unless the conditions are severely sub-optimal, the plant is not diseased. If it is diseased, good cultural treatment (adequate light, moisture, drainage, air circulation) should bring it back to health.

    Good luck!
  3. what happened to your monkey puzzle tree?

    I live in Vancouver and have very similar symptoms. I am curious as to what happened to your tree and what if anything you did to try and save it. I would be devastated if this tree died. I planted it when it was about one foot tall about ten years ago.

  4. Monkey puzzle tree disease

    Very interested to hear about apparently diseased monkey puzzle trees.. as those mentioned so far seem to be relatively short, I'm interested to know whether larger trees go through a cycle of shedding lower branches naturally as the tree grows or when this happens to all the lower branches, is the tree diseased?

    Ours is in excess of perhaps 35' and particularly over the last 6 - 12 months nearly all low to mid branches are have turned brown and several have now also lost their leaves revealing bare branches. The top quarter of the tree, however, remains green and shows signs of new growth from the tips. (Curiously, in places, one or two of the lower branches have remained green at the tip though brown for the greater length of the branch.) I don't believe the ground has been unduly disturbed to threaten roots, or that the ground does not drain well. Similarly, air circulates well - does this sound like a tree that's dying or one entering a new phase of growth higher up its trunk??

    'Pineland' Pete
    polepruner likes this.
  5. Diseased Monkey Puzzle Tree?

    Here in England we have a tree about 60 feet tall and 2 feet thick which is doing exactly as 'Pineland' Pete describes - loosing lower branches, some lower branches still green, some dead branches in crown but new growth and 'pods' in crown. We also have white sap oozing from where some branches used to be 10 feet up which is worrying. Our tree is believed to be somewhere between 100 and 200 years old and the area around it is generally undisturbed except that either side of it are a pair of Ewe trees which have got bigger over the years. We've followed previous guidance and cut back the Ewes to give the Monkey Puzzle clear air.

    Our concern is that if it died and fell it would take out a cottage which is within 40 feet of its base! At the moment we are trying to contact Edinburgh Botanical Gardens who are involved in Monkey Puzzle preservation to see if they have any advice. Any suggestions welcome - particularly about the oosing sap.

  6. Donnski

    Donnski New Member

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    French Creek, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
    There is a tree in my neighbourhood that seems to have the same symptoms: I attached photos (French Creek, Vancouver Island). Seems to me this is more than just the normal shedding of branches.

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