Two katsura trees, foliage pale on one

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by eloharein, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. eloharein

    eloharein Active Member

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    I planted two katsura maples a couple of years ago in different locations in my front yard. The one in partial shade with lots of compost in the soil is very healthy. The other one is in a more exposed site. I improved the soil when I planted it, but the surrounding soil is very hard. Last year the bark split on the trunk (possibly due to lots of rain followed by cold temperatures) and this year the foliage is very pale, ghostly in comparison to the other tree. Some of the leaves went from green to pale yellow and have curled in a bit. It does not look happy.
    Is this likely a result of the split in the bark, the quality of the soil, or the exposure to sun and wind?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The same thing that split the bark may be what is affecting the foliage. Otherwise it would be expected to be due to seasonal drying of the soil. This is an east Asian monsoon climate tree. The biggest one I have seen in this region was growing in a watered garden near a big lake, perhaps on soil deposited by the lake. The neighborhood has a few Oregon ash and Garry oak thought to be native. On some sites in Tacoma the two of these grow naturally together in wetlands.

    Note in particular photo and caption at bottom.

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda chalker-scott/Horticultural Myths_files/index.html
     
  3. eloharein

    eloharein Active Member

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    Thank you. The link was very informative. Here are some photos of the split bark and leaves, and the planting site. We removed a huge fir from this area about five years ago, then I trucked in several yards of soil, but most of the big old roots remain, and the surrounding soil is very compact. I remember trying to dig a fencepost a few feet away and it was hard work. The katsura was hand-watered for the first couple of years, and this year I have a drip irrigation system.
    I'm wondering if I should remove this tree now, before it gets too big, and put something else there. I want to leave the rock behind the tree exposed and have a canopy higher up. I do have a gleditisa in a half-barrel I could put there. Or should I avoid planting a tree here altogether?
     

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  4. eloharein

    eloharein Active Member

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    Another photo of the damaged katsura bark, this one a bit higher on the trunk.
     

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  5. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Appears not to be a maple. Rather Cercidiphyllum ssp, the Katsura tree. Parts seem to be healing well. Doesn't like too much sun, that may be exacerbating the leaf burn issues. Be careful, if it is C. japonicum it risks to get very big indeed. Good luck.

    -E
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I thought we were talking about Katsura tree the whole time, was therefore referring to that in my first post. Since the one has a big cankerous-looking area it should be given up on and removed. Replacement tree(s) should be something more in keeping with the style of the rest of the planting, and also not planted off to the side - where this one appears to be pulling on the edge of the bed shape.

    Generally trees look best in center of the widest part of a bed, although not every layout will have places for trees only there.
     
  7. eloharein

    eloharein Active Member

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    I found the tree tag: it is a Katsura Heronswood Globe (cercidiphyllum japonicum), grows 15-20 feet tall in sun or light shade, fertile, moist, but well-drained soil. I didn't realize there was also a katsura tree that grows very tall.
    Thanks for the garden design suggestions, as I am keen to know more about that for both future plantings and to work with current beds.
    The healthy katsura is situated at the other end of the same bed, which sweeps around the perimeter of the property and is currently planted with tall grasses and small pines, peonies and daylilies. I am trying to outwit the many deer in the neighborhood.
    These photos show more of the planting theme of around the unhealthy Katsura.
    I am thinking now of removing the cankerous Katsura and letting the lithadora fill out the entire area around the rock. The contrast of blue lithadora against the rock is stunning in the spring.
     

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  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Don't know about the trunk but the original 'Heronswood Globe' had a similar poor foliage appearance last time I saw it. Thought it might be due to inadequate watering by Burpee. Or perhaps honey fungus. Don't think the original seedling is yet 20' high but not sure. Since it is the oldest one in the world estimates indicating different dimensions than it has attained will be speculation or just plain erroneous.
     
  9. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    not sure about the bark splitting but I can say that at one of my sites there is a huge difference in vigour and leaf senescence due to irrigation differences. The trees that didnt get supplemental water this summer began changing to fall color in mid July and are now almost completely devoid of foliage while the ones that are irrigated are just starting to change color.
     

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