Identification: Thuja plicata??

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by benzmum, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    (May I post this again, please? I tacked it onto a discussion from last fall, so maybe no one will see it there....)

    I bought a thuja at a chain store (yes, I know, I know...) a few years ago, and it doesn't look like it's labelled, i.e., Thuja plicata. I'll try to attach an image.

    It's in a container and still has a fair amount of room, and it's grown a few feet taller. But it's still as scraggly as it was when I bought it, and from what I've seen this particular cedar fills out to make a nice hedge plant. I bought it because I liked it's "wild" look, so I'm not sorry it's still has spaced out foliage. But it's become quite yellow this summer (in Vancouver, lots of heat), and I'm wondering why.

    I did fertilize it with Plant Prod Ever-Acid pellets, and unintentionally with some Miracle-Gro Ultra Bloom (which I expect accounts for all the seed pods on it).

    But should plicata be this pale? I'm wondering if I've got a cedar that likes more shade. Any ideas would be gratefully received! :-)
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Doesn't look happy, unless it is a yellow-foliage cultivar. Has it always been that yellowish, or was it greener earlier?

    PS it is of course a redcedar (Thuja) not a cedar (Cedrus).
     
  3. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Thanks for your response, Michael. No it doesn't look happy. I'm wondering if I've killed it or if there's anything I can do to save it now?? I'm nervous about adding more fertilizer because this pallor has come on since I added the Ever-Acid (though it was quite a dilute solution). I killed a much-loved Pierus some years ago by adding a top dressing of steer manure, so I'm very nervous about fertilizers unless I know they're perfect for a given plant. I thought the Ever-Acid was good, but now I'm not so sure.... :-(

    I'm attaching another picture showing how the foliage looked in 2011 - in fact, it looked pretty much like that up until the beginning of this summer.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You've lost this one also.
     
  5. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Any idea why, Ron? That would be helpful so I don't do it again....
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Check the rooting environment, often when the top of a woody plant dies it is because something happened to the roots.
     
  7. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I've taken it right out of the pot and the root system looks ok. There are a lot of fine new roots crowding at the bottom, but it's not as pot-bound as my other trees and there is no sign of rot. So I've repotted it, without it's neighbour the horrible spikey-grass weed which was taking up a lot of space in the pot

    On taking a closer look at the foliage, it's only the surface of most of the fronds that are yellowed - the underside's perfectly green! What's this mean?? Is it possible the up-sides were getting too much sun? I'll try uploading a photo of the two sides in comparison to each other.

    I notice the small growth at the base of the trunk looks healthy as well, almost as though it's getting ready to regenerate if the upper part if the tree dies.
     

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  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, that can happen if it has been shaded (or under glass, which also cuts UV light) until recently and then suddenly exposed to full sun. Plants, just like people, get sunburn in these conditions.
     
  9. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    Well that's encouraging! Maybe I haven't killed it after all. But it's been in the same spot for the past 2 years, and the only thing that's different is the hot spell we've been having for some weeks. Maybe it just never had so much hot sun for so long before this year...? I've moved it into a more shaded area to see how it does.

    I'd really like to fertilize it, but I read you shouldn't do that when the weather's hot. Why is that? If you use a fertilizer dissolved in water shouldn't it be ok, as long as you don't get the foliage wet?
     
  10. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Stressed trees don't usually appreciate fertilizer. If you must use some, dilute it to one quarter of the manufacturer's recommended strength.
     
  11. benzmum

    benzmum Active Member

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    I'll leave it till spring then, thanks, maf! I also read about the risk of fertilizer salts burning the roots when the plant dries out in hot weather. I'd assumed if I pored a solution onto the plant it would be ok. But the idea that the salts linger and desiccate the root cells when the soil dries was important for me to learn. I'll try to remember that in future.

    A lot of lessons learned with this one. Thanks for your willingness to help, everyone who replied!
     
  12. Grooonx7

    Grooonx7 Active Member

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    It is so difficult to grow these things in containers. As you said, "…I bought it because I liked it's 'wild' look…" and I sometimes have to wonder whether wild plants simply don't want to live within confines. I've tried to rescue several such trees from sure deaths, and for a few years I've congratulated myself on being successful. But then, they have fared badly over a month or two, and died. I felt really bad. In theory there was still room enough in their containers, and they were growing outdoors in their native locations.

    I was never very forgiving of my own actions. I'd always imagined that one day I could select some place with the best odds for these trees to outlive me by a number of centuries. On one or two occasions, I did in fact transplant healthy native trees, apparently successfully; but usually not. It's so easy for us humans to wreck the joint; so very very difficult to do some small tad of good. But I congratulate you on your efforts, and I would suggest your rare attitude would, by itself, change the world—if enough people read your post and pondered its deeper significance.
     

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