Monkey Puzzle Tree Turning Brown

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by thatguyfromnj, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. thatguyfromnj

    thatguyfromnj Member

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    Hello,

    I live in New Jersey and I planted a 5'-6' Monkey Puzzle tree about 7 weeks ago. We've had a bit of a heat wave over the past week or so, which is about the same time I noticed a few of the bottom branches turning brown. The bottom most branch has turned completely brown and shriveled up. The trunk of the tree is also brownish toward the bottom. The top 2/3 of the tree (branches and truck) are just fine.

    I was watering daily for the first 4 weeks because it was a new planting trying to establish a root system. I stopped hand watering and let the sprinkler system water the tree daily. Since the heat wave I noticed the brown starting to appear so I started hand watering in addition to the sprinkler. The drainage is adequate.

    Am I giving the tree too much water? Not enough? Is this normal? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Mike
     
  2. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    thatguy...what is the soil like for the monkey puzzle tree. Apparently monkey puzzles grow in rocky scree-like soil that most plants wouldn't tolerate.

    I was given a 3' high monkey puzzle and worried about browning branches and yellowing tips too. I was assured by an arborist that the the rocky soil was fine. He had to move a healthy monkey puzzle tree and it was going in rocky soil too.Another arborist told me that the brown bottom-most branch on my tree was normal too. I hand watered the tree 3-5x a week with 4-6 gallons of water for a period of about 1 month. I've cut back on the watering but expect to hand water until at least October

    While all plants need water to adjust to the shock of transplant, if the water isn't draining away, I would expect that it might cause problems.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It is natural for the lower branches to be shed - look at photos of them in the wild in Chile. As long as the top is gree, it'll be OK.

    Problem time is going to be the winter, decidedly marginal in NJ. Any temperature below -15 to -20°C risks killing it.
     
  4. thatguyfromnj

    thatguyfromnj Member

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    growing4it,

    We planted the tree in good, screened, top soil. Beneath the new soil, the soil below is a bit sandy. To your point, I think the water is draining properly. BTW, thanks for the info on the watering.

    Michael,
    Yes, we are a bit nervous about the NJ temperature... we have our fingers crossed.


    Thank you both for the info. I feel a little better about it now. I just have one follow up question... when the branches brown, should I trim them off at the trunk or just leave them alone? If I trim them off, is there any special method to go about it?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It'll look better if you trim it off, but it isn't necessary if you don't want to bother.
     
  6. thatguyfromnj

    thatguyfromnj Member

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    Thanks Michael.

    BTW, here are a couple pics of the tree.
     

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  7. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    My experience with monkey puzzle tree is limited but I wonder if the good screened topsoil is too rich and moisture retentive.
     
  8. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    The bottom looks bleak visually, but the nice top could sure calm some concern.

    Anybody spray anything around the lower limbs in the past year? Just a thought.

    Looks like a keeper.
     
  9. thatguyfromnj

    thatguyfromnj Member

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    Thanks M.D. The plant was planted about 7 weeks ago, but actually... two weeks ago the guy that I recently hired for my lawn service sprayed an insecticide on all of my trees and shrubs. The browning happened shortly after... I chalked it up to the heat and the shock of being planted recently... Do you think this is the natural shedding that was mentioned in this thread or do you think the insecticide could have done this?

    I'll give that guy a call tomorrow. Thanks.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Check whether he used any herbicides on the grass, too.

    Around here, Monkey-puzzles sometimes self-sow ;-)
     

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