What would you do? Conifer Kingdom tree problem.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesmagpie, May 24, 2015.

  1. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I purchased this Scolopendrifolium from Conifer Kingdom (mail order) last year, and it's leafed out wonderfully this year except for a few parts of the main lower branch.

    I pruned those dead branches away, but I noticed that branch also has a crack in it-- it looks as though it's healing, but upon closer inspection it appears Conifer Kingdom left a piece of plant tie tape on the tree and it's grown into the main joint between trunk and lower branch. It's really in there.

    If you look at the photos you'll see what I mean. What would you do? Trim it (that would be quite a big wound), leave it alone, try to return it?
     

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  2. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I wouldn't be surprised if you are going to lose that whole branch; multiple small cracks in the bark and tan discoloration suggests that the bark and cambium may be dead in that area. If the damage is as bad as I think it is I would cut the branch off now and try and pull the remaining tape out with forceps or similar.

    (It is really hard to give accurate advice without being able to see the tree in person.)
     
  3. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I would gauge out the wire, use some anti-fungus product like copper sulfate, and put wound sealant on the scar.

    Then, if the problem persists, I'd cut off the weak branch, use some anti-fungus product, etc.

    I know some might disagree, but pruning maples at the beginning of the summer, provided that it is done with proper care, is better than in autumn in my opinion because it heals faster.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Skip the pruning paint.
     
  5. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    It's true that the wound sealant is optional: nowadays, professionals don't use it when they prune a tree. Most of the time it's rather big cuts they make and "pruning paint" is now viewed as a way to keep fungus and diseases trapped under the sealant.Yet, using some fungicide seems essential to me.

    But applying some where the cambium is exposed helps it stay moist and the scar heals better, no need to apply some at the center of the wound. At least, it works well with bonsai, on small cuts. It has been a controversial issue in the small world of small trees for years, but from my experience it works better on maples.

    Here is an example for you to see what I mean:

    1/ The first photo shows a wound that was treated with Bordeaux mix the year before.
    2/ The second photo shows where I later "refreshed" the cut and applied some bonsai wound sealant (late February 2013)
    3/ The third photo shows the scar today
    4/ The fourth photo shows where a branch thet died out was cut further up, no wound sealant, no fungicide except for the usual late autumn then late winter routine spraying. It's OK for small wounds such as the one at the top of the photo, not so good-looking for larger ones like the one in the bottom part, about 0.5 cm - a fifth of an inch.
    5/ The whole tree in its pot today. Since the wound is almost healed, the sap flows more freely and the tree is thriving, puhing new growth further down the "canopy" but not on the "line" where the cut was not treated.

    In any case, I think it's important to remember that in such circumstances, cleaning the tools before and after pruning is a must ;-)
     

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  6. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thank you for the advice and interesting photos and discussion.

    Unfortunately it's not wire-- it's a thin strip of green tie tape that the nursery let grow into the tree. :( It looks like it's down very deep in the branch. I'd have to make a deep cut to get it out-- probably halfway through the branch. I'm assuming that would make it very weak structurally, now and in the future?
     
  7. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I would contact Conifer Kingdom about your issue and see what they say - both about what they'd recommend you do (though, of course, you'll get great advice here), and what they can do about it for you (ie, refund, replace, etc). Sam is super nice and very easy to deal with. But yeah, that piece of tie-tape is in there good, not to mention deep; I think you'd stand a good chance of losing the branch if you try to cut in to remove it.
     
  8. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I just contacted them on their facebook page. The trees they sent me were wonderful, and I put in several orders last year. Hopefully they'll respond with good advice or good news-- it's definitely a tree I want in my garden. It's a shame this one has issues-- the form is lovely.

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. It's very helpful to keep these ideas in mind in case of a big prune or damage. Since our JM collection is getting big, and we're in an area with heavy snows and cold, I'm guessing I'll need to revisit the idea of pruning a major branch more than once in the future--
     
  9. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    100% with Ron B. on this one. ;) I never use sealent and cuts heal well. But bonsai folk certainly swear by the stuff!

    I'm afraid I don't like the looks of either branch. I don't think the tape is that big a problem, I'd just leave it. Trees successfully grow around all sorts of foreign objects, stones, metal or plastic. Not ideal but they do manage.

    On the other hand I'd be hitting this with lots of copper, and leaving it in shade. I see black splotching on both branches, and of course Maf is right on too.

    Vis-a-vis conifer kingdom, I don't know them being on this side of the pond except by reputation, which seems very good indeed. Companies with good reps will usually go the extra mile, that's how they got that way! So by all means you should contact them.

    -E
     
  10. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I've been concerned about the black as well, but in the photos forum someone suggested it was sunburn. The insides of the cut branches are clean-- no discoloration. I did give it a hefty dose of copper before leaf out. Should I do it again now that the leaves are fully emerged? I'm still learning, so what do you see that indicates copper is needed?

    As for shade, it's not an option for this tree. I bought it to do well in sun, and while it gets a little shade during the day, it's in the ground and not going anywhere. We have a small yard, with limited but growing shade, and the truly shady spots are used up by JMs that really need it.
     
  11. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Sadly, the entire tree above the tape has died. I've contacted them about a replacement.
     
  12. bub72ck

    bub72ck Active Member

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    I have received some very nice trees from Conifer Kingdom but this issue combined with a ratty looking Hogyoku i recently received has me leery going forward. Not sure what they will do for you here but hopefully they replace the tree. I was given the "Oh everything will be fine" response and my tree had a large recess in the base of the trunk and probably 50% of the branch tips had to be trimmed off because they were dead. The tree may do fine going forward but it will probably be my last order from Conifer Kingdom. Your tree and my tree should have never been shipped IMO.
     
  13. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    People have had such good things to say about them in the past. Ed Shinn gave them and Sam a glowing review in an online group just last year. When I spoke with a person last year I don't believe it was Sam, so I'm hoping that by writing to the customer service team I'll get a good response. It's hard to think a nursery with such a good reputation would stand by sending out damaged trees. Bub72ck, did you speak with Sam?
     
  14. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Sadly, I concur with both of you; I've ordered trees in the past that have been very nice, but the last order I got (ordered in November, but shipped in March) I wasn't happy with. The conifers were ok, but the maples definitely looked sad; it didn't help that the trees sat in a box for over a week because they didn't update our address for the shipment, even though I'd given it to them several times and it was correct on the invoice. One of the maples now has 3 limbs that have died back, and I'm not hopeful about the rest. I contacted them immediately after receiving and unboxing the order when I noticed that the branches looked scalded or burnt; they indicated that the trees should be fine, and they sometimes look like that coming out of winter. Even in KS, with our very harsh winters the past two years, the only time any of my maple branches have looked like that is if they'd been out in the wind and super-cold temps for several days - and then, the branches always died back. To their credit, though, when I emailed them last week about the dead branches, I received a reply later that day that they were shipping a replacement tree to me, which I should be getting later this week.
     
  15. bub72ck

    bub72ck Active Member

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    Maplesmagpie, I did speak with Sam. My Hogyoku may live and never have an issue but it doesn't take away the look of the tree itself. It has now leafed out and 80% of the leaves are 3/4 of the way up the tree and the other 20% are all bunched at the top of the few branches that were not dead. It has no shape to speak of and my only recourse at this point is to trim off the remaining high branches and lose years of growth from the tree. There are WAY too many growers out there who produce absolutely beautiful trees with nice symmetry and form for me to take the risk and order from CK again. My Tsukushigata and Goshiki Kotohime from them are great but batting .667 when spending that kind of money is not worth it. I have half a dozen trees from mapletopia (Ryder Eggleston) and all of them have been great. I have almost 20 trees from Mr. Maple and although I have picked all of them in person, every tree at their nursery has nice form and looks well cared for. I drove 10 hours round trip to Atlanta yesterday to pick up a Nuresagi from Christy at Maple Ridge that I bought sight unseen. Again, it's gorgeous. I dare think I'd drive 10 hours to pick up every maple I ever buy again before I'd have CK ship another tree to my door. It may be harsh saying this but I'm in sales myself and I would never let the insurance equivalent of my Hogyoku go out my door to a client.

    Sorry, rant over. :)
     
  16. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I got an email from Sam two days ago regarding my tree. He remembered me contacting them last year about the ingrown nursery tape. He was very polite, and in line with their company policy he offered the original price of the tree ($40) credited to my account.

    The problem with that is the same tree now costs $20 more, and shipping would be another $30. So unless I want to invest an additional $50, I'm out a tree and my original $40. When I asked for a tree replacement (even if I paid for shipping), I got no response. It's been two days. I wish I could report a different outcome.


    I would like a Scolopendrifolium, but I'm not willing to spend $50 to take another chance with Conifer Kingdom.
     
  17. bub72ck

    bub72ck Active Member

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    It's too large of a risk for us and the shipping cost. Shipping costs almost as much as the tree so a "credit" to your account is not worth much IMO. You still have to buy another tree (which you unfortunately found out has gone up in price) and repay the shipping costs again. The unfortunate long term scenario for CK is they continue to poorly conduct business and word will get around quickly. The true maple community is a small one. My experience has just been reinforced by your situation so I know it's not just me. I understand it's difficult with a living plant and not like a plate or cup that shows up broken and beyond repair. My tree could live and never have a problem but the devil is in the details. Your situation is just bad. Your tree is dead...
     
  18. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I take back what I said. Perhaps I should have waited longer for a response, given this is their busy season. Sam got back to me and said they would replace the tree, so that's wonderful news. I'll post a photo of it when it arrives.
     
  19. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    So glad to hear they're making it right!
     
  20. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Me, too. I was too hasty. Sam was kind about it. I'm looking forward to receiving the tree, and I ordered two conifers as well as long as I was paying for shipping. They're one of the only sellers of Bennett's Fastigiate. We ordered one two years ago and love it, so I ordered another.
     
  21. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Well, I got my replacement Anne Irene today - and it looks even worse than the original. I've never seen scald or cracking on my trees like this, and Kansas has some very harsh, cold weather in winter. I've emailed them asking for a full refund - they can have both trees back if they want, but I will not pay shipping. All other trees I've bought from them have been fine, but these Anne Irene should never have been sold in the condition they're in. Once our heat and humidity kick in, I can pretty much guarantee they will fail. Guess we'll see what they say...
     

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  22. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    The second and last pic show signs of bacterial infection. The white flaking in 5 is an indication of a infection from last year that has started to decompose and flake away. The tan is whats left beneath. Matt black is a sign of an inactive infection and glossy black is an active infection. Can't tell if any of the black is glossy or active, but keep in mind its like a cancer in remission and its only time before the infection becomes active again especially in a tree so young.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  23. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    I agree that pruning maples in late spring or early summer is best. The tree not only heals faster, but you are at lowest risk for bacterial infection.

    As for sealing cuts. We now understand that in some Species of trees (like oak as an example) that sealing the cut is absolutely necessary when pruning during the growing season. The scent of a fresh cut is a scent that is attractive to beatles that carry a bacterium that causes wilt and leads to death of the tree. So skipping the pruining sealant is not advisable in all cases. The non believers should do some research. The information is out there.

    But to be fair we are talking Japanese maples.
    Its my experience that its benificial in Japanese maples but can only draw from personal experience as no specific research has been conducted on Japanese maples to my knowledge. But it can be said that their is evidence that not sealing can kill a tree where the same can not be said about sealing as their is no evidence that indicates a pruning sealer will kill your tree. Most information against is based on opinion or someone may say their is no benifit to sealing, but now we know that is not true in all cases.

    Another benefit to sealing would be to prevent wood rot fungi from comming into contact with the heartwood. The heartwood is usually shielded from wood-rot fungi by the bark and sapwood but becomes exposed in branch stubs left by pruning. Because Japanese maples are slow to heal this makes the stub more susceptible to rot. Sealing the cut creates a boundary that prevents wood rot fungi from contacting the heartwood reducing the risk of rot in all trees and especially in slow healing trees like Japanese maples.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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  24. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I heard back from CK today; they are giving me a credit for the full cost of the tree, and have pulled all other trees of this cultivar. The reason for the condition of both trees I received is due to a chemical spray. I will hold on to both trees and see what happens as the growing season progresses.

    I give them credit for doing right by the customer (me) in this situation, however, I am a little puzzled as to why they let any trees in this condition - or with potential problems thriving - leave their possession. If it were me I would give the customer the option of still purchasing the tree at a reduced price, or pulling the entire stock of affected trees and offering the customer the chance to get something else of equal value or receive a refund. I've never had any issues with the conifers I've purchased from them, but I am now a bit leery of the maples...
     
  25. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    It sounds like they are making a real effort, and that their reputation is deserved. Let's hope the problems they had with the chemical products, which can indeed cause burning and galling that resembles the bacterial issues, is solved. When I saw the picture, I too thought bacterial immediately.

    To give you an example of what superior customer service this really is, this year I rec'd some incorrectly maples from a nursery I hadn't previously worked with. I informed him of the problems, complete with pictures and explanations. After no reply, I called and he said he "hadn't been in to the nursery." 3 weeks later he replied that I could send the plants back, and when he received them he would refund me. It would have cost 40 euros to send at least, for 60 euros in plants that I had already spent 30 extra to ship. Plus they're all leafed out now. In other words, no way. Plus, 2 of the maples are sycamores that were sold as A. diabolicum, and he is still selling them!! So my only option is to never do business with this guy again.

    In other words, even if things aren't "perfect perfect" with CK, they're still pretty darn good...

    -E
     

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