Black Pine Die Back

This pine is showing some stress/yellowing on the lower branch and looking for a solution

Decandled last year

Repotted this spring, not decandled

Major bend in lower branch in May/June of this year

Fert with Dr Earth 555

Probably over watering, was over 100 two weeks ago and will be hitting 106 mid week

I had planned to thin the apex by removing complete candles later in the summer

Question: should I thin apex now to help balance vigor or wait till temp goes down?

Thanks, MikeIMG_1390 IMG_1389 IMG_1388

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The big question about the branch is whether or not it was green before the big bend in June. If it was green earlier in spring, there’s a good chance that the bend stressed the tree and there’s little to do to help with this.

If the branch was weak from the start, it could be that the bend exacerbated the situation or that something else is going on. Have you checked for spider mites?

Some light thinning could help ensure that the lower branch is getting enough light, but I would only want to make cuts that I’d planned to make in fall anyway. Based on the last photo, it looks like the tree can be positioned in a way that provides plenty of light to the lower branch.

As for whether or not thinning could redirect resources to the lower branch, I’d want to know more about why it’s weak in the first to know if that would make a difference.

I’d be surprised if overwatering were the problem as that typically affects the whole tree, but if there is a pocket of old soil, that alone could account for the branch weakness and be exacerbated by overwatering.

The lower branch does look weak, a major bend shortly after the repot may be the cause. On the other hand it appears to have banding on the affected needles. If that is true then i would consider that the weakened branch may be affected by needlecast. However the clarity of the picture makes this difficult to say for sure.
I would not weaken the tree further with any other work until recovery is complete.

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