Repotting and climate advice

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Aedon Young, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    Dear Monkey Puzzle Tree Gurus,
    I live in St. John's, NL. I returned from Vancouver last summer with two monkey puzzle trees to remind me of home. One is healthy, about 2' tall, and has outgrown its pot. Its roots are protruding and it seems cramped. The other is brownish and ailing, perhaps due to the electric heat. While I know that these trees should be grown outdoors, I am unsure as to if they will tolerate the Newfoundland weather. The temperature rarely drops below -5 or -10 Celsius in the winter but it is very windy all year round.

    i) The healthy tree needs to be repotted. What type of soil should I use? I have heard that they like 'loamy' soil but don't know how to proceed.

    ii) Should I forgo repotting and just plant the healthy one outside? If so, when is the best time to do so? June?

    iii) Do you have any tips as to how I might rejuvenate the brown one? I have no idea why it does poorly when the other is well.

    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or advice you might have.
    Thanks in advance!
    Aedon Young.
     
  2. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    over watering is the most likely cause of the browning one, (i should know i think i killed at least 2) originally they were in peat based compost, but i changed to loam based, John Innes number 2, and they are doing much better. Let the brown one dry out, however i fear it maybe too late, i think only 1 of mine has ever recovered from the browning.
    Good Luck.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked other specimens that are thriving in your clmate zone, I fear that the wind chills in St. John's is far to brutal for this tree, Araucaria a., it is related to the Norfolk Pine A. heterophylla (excelsia)....where is it now?
     
  4. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    Both trees are currently indoors as I am worried about planting them outdoors until I hear some feedback. Yes, my concern was the wind. In winter, of course they would be wrapped and sheltered.
    You wondered about local trees. Well, as you are from Coquitlam maybe this will make sense. Newfoundland forests look very much like northern BC i.e. strong, slim evergreens that can tolerate the weather. Much shorter and closer together than coastal BC.
    Any ideas? Should I leave it inside? If so, what type of soil should I use?
     
  5. miss_myxomycete

    miss_myxomycete Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Aedon,
    When we planted our monkey puzzle out in the garden, we were advised by the garden centre (our friend worked there) to use 'ericaceous' soil. The tree has thrived since (about 5 years), altho' this is obviously due to other factors too. Not really sure what ericaceous soil is? My dictionary says it's to do with heather?? Good luck! Ingrid
     
  6. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I would not plant your Araucaria a. out of doors, unless your climate zone is at least a seven or eight...it will not survive the Arctic winds and deep freezing temperatures. I am no expert, but if you have not seen any established specimens in your climate zone, it may be a maverick planting at best. Sorry if this is bad news, but also, indoors will not allow such a species to thrive either, they need to settle their roots deep as they can grow to a height of over 30 meters here in the Lower Mainland of B.C.
     
  7. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    St. John's is zone 5b so that does not bode well for planting my monkey outside. I know it is not ideal to keep it indoors but I will just have to give it lots of room for roots.
    Does anyone have any specific advice about soil and potting indoors? I am a real novice and need help! My trees remind me of home and were a wedding gift and so, I really don't want to kill them! I will look into ericaceous mix but my internet research keeps turning up British sites--perhaps it is not a common product in Canada.
    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for all your feedback so far.
    Aedon.
     
  8. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Hi Aedon.

    I am no expert, but a Monkey Puzzle tree could live for a few years in a pot and
    adding a size every year in order to control its' growth rate...also, if you have a cool sunny sight indoors, or a solarium space for over wintering, thenacclimatizing to both sun and temperature... placing out of doors well after any frost...hmmm? I can't imagine these herculean efforts for such a prickly plant...those needles are lethal...is there an arboretum in St. John's or a conservatory to accommodate your plant ?
     
  9. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle) require a seasonal change to perform and grow well. Indoor cultivation would be a challenge to say the least, let alone the thorny leaves mentioned previously in your eastern climate.

    Here's a nice one close to me in Nanaimo BC.
     

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  10. Jirrus

    Jirrus Member

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    Hi there,

    Sorry for diverging topics, here's the Monkey Puzzle's ancient relative (pic attachment) from the super-continent before the big-split eh? (ie. Australia and South America)

    It's the Araucaria bidwillii, or locally known as the Bunya Pine!!!!! (from the Bunya Mountains, south-east Queensland, Australia)

    Gosh they look similar!!!

    cheers, Jirrus
     

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  11. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    i guess ericaceous compost is unique to the UK, in its simplest form its like a multi purpose compost without the added lime, so instead of being PH 5.5 its around 3.5-4.5 ideal for Rhododendrons Azaleas etc, all nutrients are more or less readily available at different PH levels The Macro nutrients become more available at a higher PH and the micro nutrients at lower PH.......i'm guessing the soil in south America is slightly acidic so Ericaceous compost would be ok but i feel not essential.........mine have done very well in soil based compost.
     
  12. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    Cheers, Oscar! The PH info is very helpful--at least I know now that I should look for the type of acidic soil that rhodos enjoy. I think that I will keep my monkey trees [the brown one IS looking slightly less brown, thanks!] indoors during the winter and then will let them sit outside from June until the season gets cool. As they will be living in pots, do you think that I should use any potting soil or just go for whatever quasi-ericaceous mix I can find? I am confused about this as I have heard that containerised plants require special soil...
     
  13. NiftyNiall

    NiftyNiall Active Member 10 Years

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    Hope to clear up some of the confusion about Ericaceous soils. Many plants in the Order; Ericales, sometimes called Ericads, or ericlean plants, are ericaceous. Many have a relationship with Mycorhizal fungae, (mostly Deuteromycetes & Basmidiomycetes species).
    Many plants in this Order, require acidic soils,(less than pH5.5) they also generally have long,shallow root systems, many of them come from mountainous areas, with thin soils. Some will not grow properly, if at all, if some of these requirements are not met i.e. Pyrolaceae (Pyrola family, sometimes separated into its own Order. Chimaphilla umbellata,AKA,Princes Pine,Pipsissewa has to have the Mycorhizal community present, or it dies a slow death). Most of the Pyrolaceae, have to have the Mycorhizae present, to grow properly.

    Arbutus menziesii,Arbutus, also appears to have a strong need for Mycorhizae being present.

    Vacciniums, Arctostaphylos, Andromeda, Rhododendron are a few others. Many also respond very well to Ammonium based fertilizers, Although I have often wondered if this strategy is feeding the Mycorhizae, first.
     
  14. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    Thanks for the clarification about ericaceous soil. How then should I approach the matter of soil for repotting my monkey puzzle? Should I look for a low pH soil or just go for a regular potting soil but add an ammonium-based fertilizer?
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  16. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe it!
     
  17. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    i just checked on the map, alesund is a coastal area and as such would be slightly warmer than inland Norway, the gulf stream should also be considered.....it says it was planted in 1901 and so therefore must have seen some very cold weather...truely amazing.
    if you read his climate page, he does say, that part of norway could be considered USDA zone 8 or even 9
    so dont go planting it outside yet Aedon.
     
  18. monkey

    monkey Member

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    Hi , I just logged in and made a lengthy reply. When I submitted it ,I was told that I must register and log in. I already had done that . ?? Now my message is deleted. hmm So this reply is a test before trying again
     
  19. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Monkey, if you do not have the system remember you, the forums can tend to log you out after a certain period. If you can't let the computer remember you, you may want to write out long posts on some other text editor and paste them in. Sorry, I think Daniel is still looking into that issue. Although I don't have the system remember me, because I share this computer, and I have not had that problem lately.

    Possibly you were not actually logged on?
     
  20. monkey

    monkey Member

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    Hi Aedon and others .I`ve been growing MP trees for about 14 years and currently have about 2000 Mps grown in containers. I,m not an expert however , and am very interested in any information from all of you .[ It may be the largest collection in Canada] , The trees are from 1 to 13 years old . The containers are from 7" to 60 gallon barrels. The largest are about 7' tall. So they will definetely grow in pots for many years as long as the soil is replenished regularily by way of transplanting into larger containers every year or two . Avoid soil compaction. Here is the soil I use . In rough proportions .At least 1/2 peat moss for loft/aeration and acidity , 1/8 mineral soil , 1/8 to 1/4 garden soil or loam , and the remainder either well rotted manure or so called "cool' manure such as Llama . I add about 1/16 perlite. In addition very small amounts of gypsum and bonemeal . 1/2 teaspoon or so per gallon. Not so much as to alter the ph . {comments on that anyone ? ] For fertilizer , horticulturalists recommended a 20-10-10 slow release prill type with micronutrients. For the young trees and for quick release fertilizing I use a Water soluble 20-8-20 by Plant Prod {Forestry Special blend} The trees have been thriving on this mix , but I am very open to any improvements if anyone has helpfull input . What about Fir Bark ? The soil in containers is prone to compaction and anything to help alleviate this ... As to planting your trees outside in NFLD. that sounds risky . Maybe if they were in a very sheltered location and acclimatized gradually .Don`t overlook the sudden change in light intensity between indoors to outdoors, besides temp. swings and wind. if you were to do it I would recommend partially screening them from the sudden sun and wind exposure and gradually opening them up over several months . I`ll gladly share what I know about MPs ... I am not a trained hort . however . I don`t visit the site everyday but will check back soon
     
  21. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    if it aint broke dont try to fix it monkey, sounds like you got your mix off to a fine art, about the compaction problem, the expensive potting bark might help......are you using a horticultural grade peat, the standard peat sold in Garden centres is usually fine or medium grade, course grade is more expensive but worth having.
     
  22. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm not looking into the issue. You have, I think, 30 minutes to type in a response before you get logged out. Click the "remember me" button and you then have, I think, 6 months.
     
  23. Aedon Young

    Aedon Young Member

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    Brilliant info, Monkey. I am going to take the plunge and follow your soil recipe. Thanks for the detail--it is exactly what I needed. I am glad to hear that you have had luck in pots. I will also take your advice about how to acclimatise my tree before moving it outside for the summer/autumn. (No spring here, alas...)
    If you sold some of your trees at a garden fair in Vancouver last year, then mine may have originally come from you!

    [Oscar, I have had to come to terms with one of my trees dying. I thought I could rejuvenate it but no luck. I must have over-watered or else it was the electric heat.]
     
  24. monkey

    monkey Member

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    Thanks Eric and Daniel ,I was for sure actually logged in originally, but I see from what Daniel said ,that, I possibly took too long composing my message ,and since my last visit to the site was months ago and I didn`t have the system "remember me' , I got bumped/logged off by the system ,
     

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