Trident Maple New Growth Problem


(TNBonsai) #1

I acquired a Trident Maple last spring and it did fine through the year and into the fall. I overwintered it in my unheated garage by a window with morning sun. By Feb it was pushing new growth and once we were past much freezing weather I moved it outside. I’m in zone 7 (Tennessee) and the tree is planted in spagnum moss mixed with wood chips.

The issue is that all of the new growth is dying shortly after it pushes out. The lead tips turn brown and almost appear to ‘rot’. I suspect I overwatered and the spaghnum is holding too much water. I haven’t watered it in about 2 weeks to let it dry out and pulled the upper layer of soil to try to help drying.

Any other ideas?


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

My first guess is the roots. I’d definitely let the tree begin to dry out between waterings.

Have you repotted the tree or did it come in the sphagnum moss and wood chips mix? If you haven’t seen the roots, I’d consider repotting it sooner rather than later.


(TNBonsai) #3

It was in a wood chip gravel mix when I got it last spring. I repotted in spaghnum moss which has worked well with my other trees. It holds water well during the hot summers here. The roots looked ok when I repotted it and there was lots of new growth through the summer.

It’s been warm here today so the soil is drying out now but the tree is looking worse. It gets morning sun and shade the rest of the day. Might be a loss at this point. I mixed some Osmocote slow release fertilizer in the soil when I repotted last year - maybe a bad idea. Are Tridents overly sensitive to fertilizer?

Should I repot again before it’s dead or just leave it alone. I’m open to ideas.

Thanks!


(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Lots of water in the soil and lots of fertilizer can be a rough combination for maples, and it’s hard to control the release of nutrients in fertilizers like Osmocote. You could try repotting into a mix with less organic material and no fertilizer and see if that helps.


(TNBonsai) #5

Thanks Jonas. Repotting may be the only option - I just hate doing it again with the tree already struggling. I’m gonna let it go another couple days with no water and repot this weekend if no improvement.

I’ve added a couple pictures from tonight.


(TNBonsai) #6

Here’s the soil.


(Jonas Dupuich) #7

It looks like there is some dieback and callus formation along the trunk. It’s not the normal tan color I’d expect. Do you have an idea why the trunk is several different colors?


(TNBonsai) #8

We have a lot of minerals in the water here. The white may be from mineral deposits (I.e. lime). The darker part where the trunk meets the soil seems like moisture from the soil.

FYI - There was another layer of spaghnum covered by gravel on top of this, which I removed a coupe days ago in an effort to dry the soil. This may also have contributed to the darker area at the bottom. The horizontal roots start just below the soil level in this picture.

PS This tree stayed pretty dry over the winter. I was careful not to over water it through the dormant period, and only gave it a good watering about 3 weeks ago when I moved it from the unheated garage back outdoors - as it was pushing the new growth.

Note - it only got close to freezing a couple times since it’s been outdoors. It has not been close to freezing in the past 2 weeks. Yesterday it was warm - close to 80 degrees. (27C).


(TNBonsai) #9

We have a lot of minerals in the water here. The white may be from mineral deposits (I.e. lime). The darker part where the trunk meets the soil seems like moisture from the soil.

FYI - There was another layer of spaghnum covered by gravel on top of this, which I removed a coupe days ago in an effort to dry the soil. This may also have contributed to the darker area at the bottom. The horizontal roots start just below the soil level in this picture.

PS This tree stayed pretty dry over the winter. I was careful not to over water it through the dormant period, and only gave it a good watering about 3 weeks ago when I moved it from the unheated garage back outdoors - as it was pushing the new growth.

Note - it only got close to freezing a couple times since it’s been outdoors. It has not been close to freezing in the past 2 weeks. Yesterday it was warm - close to 80 degrees. (27C).


(Jonas Dupuich) #10

Thanks, that makes sense. The salts in the water could be contributing to the problem. Am still curious about what looks like dieback and callus above the first branch - maybe it’s an old injury.

I’d likely wait before repotting to see how the tree comes out at this point.


(TNBonsai) #11

I didn’t notice the callous until you mentioned it. Here’s a closer look. Any idea what this is and whether it could be the issue?


(Robert Paul Carrell) #12

Definitely repot the tree. this will help diagnostically, as well as redistributing the water intake. The moss thing is potentially a problem. I’m outside Huntsville, Al, zone 7, and my maples go in perlite and soil conditioner 4:1 proportions, seived to 1/16". Better it’s too dry than too wet. that’s my opinion, and it’s worth what u paid 4 it.
Robert


(Robert Paul Carrell) #13

On second thought, this may be a fungus secondary to the water retention. Repoting will dry out the roots somewhat, but, if there is a fungus, then a daconil spray may be in order. It may help to check the pH, as well as moisture with a three way moisture meter. Good luck.
Robert


(Jonas Dupuich) #14

It looks like there was a big injury and that the tree has started heal (the callus) and the dead section is showing signs of breaking down.


(Les Lonsdale) #15

I would remove it from the sphagnum as soon as possible - it holds too much water. I once killed 1/3 of my collection by mixing time release fertilizer pellets in with my soil mix. when I soaked the pots after repotting. All of the time release pellets must have burst, because they were so wet for so long!


(TNBonsai) #16

Thanks for the responses, I would up repotting over the weekend. I put it back in fresh spaghnum (no fertilizer). As of today all of the green turned to brown - there’s one tiny green leaf, but I think it’s a loss.

Robert - Whats soil conditioner?

Here are a couple pictures of the roots. There really wasn’t much time release fertilizer in there - but I guess that’s a bad idea for deciduous trees. My tropicals have always seemed to do fine with it.


(Jonas Dupuich) #17

The roots don’t look bad, but pure moss will retain a lot of water and make it difficult to keep the tree healthy. The roots need air as much as they need moisture which is why we use larger particle sizes for bonsai.


(Ανδρέας Γάβρης) #18

I think you need to use a soil that allows better root ventilation. Moisture is a great enemy.
I use 80% pumice stone 2-4 mm and 20% peat for maples and I have no problem.
Sometimes too much fertilizer is a problem.