Redwood in distress

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by connie1, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. connie1

    connie1 Member

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    This was aiming for "Conifer" forums, but I'm a newbie so it's just "there" in "how to use".
    I just purchased a home with a rather large redwood tree.
    The former owner dumped about a foot of concrete rubble and gravel all around the tree to form an RV parking spot about 5 years ago.
    The tree currently has very little new growth on it. It's a pitiful skeleton with just wisps of green at the end of the branches.
    I fear it's too late to save it, but would like to know if there's a chance. I am currently removing as much of the rubble/gravel as I can, and was thinking maybe a boatload of fertilizer and new soil might give it a chance. Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, remove the rubble. Skip the fertiliser, but add some mulch and lots of water.

    Best of all, hire an arborist with soil decompaction equipment to get the soil aerated. This can do wonders for trees that are suffering from soil compaction.

    Redwoods have very good regeneration capacities, so it will likely make a full recovery, though it'll probably take a few years.
     
  3. connie1

    connie1 Member

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    Thanks Michael! I'll give it a shot!
     
  4. GaryC101

    GaryC101 Member

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    Yes the mulch and water is a great idea. Also I see alot of Redwood trees that are neglected with impacted soil. Turn over the soil at the top (careful of the top roots)
    Cause high impacted soil means low hydration over the years and not alot of oxygen getting into the soil to help carry the water to the deeper part of the root bulb. Also water "timely" Redwoods love that. Sablings are easy because water times extend as the tress get bigger. You've got a tough job cause you have a sick tree and finding out how much water is correct at this stage is tough. Low and slow might be a good start. Have fun!! GaryC. Keep me posted . Nothing is better than watching a tree grow.!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Fertilizer decision depends on nutrient condition of soil. It's not "never fertilize" or "always fertilize". Sample your soil and have it tested. There just may be a critical deficiency or imbalance that is holding the tree back. If that is the case, you can water and mulch until the cows come home and the tree may continue to malinger (although mulching tends to introduce at least some nutrients).

    Mulching will soften the soil, taking away the need for cultivation - which can be detrimental to trees and shrubs.
     
  6. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    I would speculate that %90 of NW Coastal Redwoods with problems are from lack of water. So, water that sucker!

    Most local Redwoods do not look healthy at all. I blame our dry summers. Giant Sequioas; however, seem to fair much better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2006
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As with local native conifers, vigor and appearance will vary with situation, including soil depth and quality. Many wild western redcedar look scraggly here as well. Despite them being occasionally scorched by cold winters we have coast redwoods in western WA well over 100' tall. Sierra redwood is more hardy and usually bluer, with differently arranged foliage that does not bronze. This produces a different aspect.
     
  8. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    I would pour the fertilizer to it! As well as water the heck out of it. Let your fertilizer deciede what your soil pH will be. Acidic! Just what your Redwood would want if it could want! Maybe the concrete rubble is full of lime, just what your tree doesn't need. Fill your boat twice. Sounds like your last hope.
    Good Luck Jim.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Test your soil before pouring on anything. Overfertilization is not a good thing.
     
  10. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    I'd have to disagree for the most part so please bare with my novice opinon:). Soils? The same forces that created the Cascades and Western WA also created NW California and the adjacent Sierras. Certainly, one can find bad soils in the all too familar WA glacial till; however, the characteristic West Coast dry season does infact take it's on the non-natives(IMO). The differences between a coastal Redwood growing in Western WA and one growing in it's native range would be slightly warmer winters and fog laden summers - moisture. And yes, with Coastal Redwood does grow well here but most look sicky.

    Take the old Coastal Redwood located 30 feet South of the tennis court across the street(Fauntleroy Way) from Lincoln Park. It looks somewhat unhealthy. As you're facing North veiwing it look to the left (West), into the park and there lies a very healthy looking Giant Sequoia. I'd estimate both the same age and both are cared for. And both presumably have similar soils. So, what's the difference? The Giant Sequioa has better adapted it's self to dry summers while it's coastal cousin is adapted to foggy summers. So, it all comes down to moisture, since it is the defining common denominator here.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Soils can vary markedly from one location to the next, even on the same property. The soil survey map for my county alone looks like a patchwork quilt. The same low, damp areas that have moisture seeping down to them from above have nutrients being brought down to them from above.

    Exposure, nutrients and moisture each play a role in what a site can support as well as how each species present does. In addition to the overall site conditions the fortunes of a single individual will be determined by the attributes of the little spot or patch it sits in, and also the events that occur on the spot during the time that individual is present. In the wild here fires are very important to the composition of vegetation on many sites, in cultivation development activities a dominant factor. Urban trees in particular may be subject to cuts and fills where a property is re-developing, as well as chronic stresses/threats like de-icing salt, reflected heat or used motor oil coming off of pavement. Even specimens located in seemingly comparatively favorable lawn areas have to compete with the grass, may be subjected to lawn herbicides, over-fertilization, and soil compaction from mowing equipment and the considerable amount of foot traffic that may occur on a park lawn.
     

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