Carolina Cypress - Extensive Browning

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I watered my new planted Carolina Cypress trees daily about 10 days and decided to start water them 2 times per week. However they suddenly started to brown heavily. Since they were planted in to sandy land and in very shallow whole I removed top layer of sand and cover it with garden soil than with mulch. Since we are in Florida and temperatures were in high 80s I returned on daily watering and also added Miracle Growth; all of the trees started to recover but one continue to brown and even some small green branches that were remained, now become yellow-white and crispy dry. Is there any hope for completely brown tree. What I should do?


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Answer #2 · Nina Kovacevic's Answer · Thanks John!
I scratched off small spots of the outer bark on limbs and looks like that they are green under. Some of the outer layers of the outer bark (which is brown-red) is pealing and green color can be seen under it . I did also some digging (around 6 inches) and while it is not completely dry it is not moist too even though i did water it 12 hours earlier. I hand shower by the hose and hold around 5-7 minutes, is it that to little or to much? I am afraid to reduce watering to 2 time per week because days are weary hot and somehow looks like that trough the sanded layers water draining rapidly. One day we had all day rain and seems that my cypresses gained some green in their brunches. Definitely i made mistake by adding fertilizer...

Thank you

Nina)


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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Nina-The reddish brown flaky bark is a characteristic of the Carolina Sapphire Cypress and most likely not a problem I can think of at this time. It sounds as though the sandy soil around the root ball is draining extremely fast and not holding enough water. Much of the root ball is not being moistened. This tree may have to be dug up, its planting hole enlarged, and additional organic matter mixed into the soil to retain more moisture. After watering 12 hours earlier the soil should have been moist. The root ball may have dried out also to the point the soil around the roots is not absorbing water. I would leave the hose running very slowly moving it around the tree for a longer period of time to soak deeply around the roots. You might also think about installing some drip irrigation for these trees making the deep soaking at time more easily done. Once these trees are more mature or have developed a more established root system they will need less water. With the temperatures getting warmer in your area It would be best to do any removing of the tree from the ground early in the morning to keep the roots from drying out. You can also wrap the root ball with a wet towel to keep it moist for a short period of time before quickly replanting it. The main thing now is of course to amend the soil to retain more water. Don't worry about the fertilization. As quickly as the soil is draining much of it most likely was leached out and not taken up by the plant.
John

4 years ago ·
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Nina Kovacevic

Nina Kovacevic · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks John,
since replanting may be complicated for me I will try to water with some kind oh sprinkler that moves slowly around the tree for longer period. If there is no change, I will try replanting. Should I also add more soil on top and cover it with more mulch?

4 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
No, adding more soil on top of the root ball will be planting it too deep. The top of the root ball should be level if not a little above the surrounding soil. Planting too deeply can starve the roots of oxygen and can keep the trunk and soil too wet causing fungal disease. I think a deep soaking at times will help to keep the entire root ball moist. Hopefully the tree will recover. Let me know how you make out. You might want to try a soaker hose positioned around the tree between the trunk and the outer width of the root ball. This way most of the water is used and not lost to evaporation as happens with sprinklers. Make sure the mulch I'm seeing is not pilled up against the tree trunks. Keep it pulled away at least a couple of inches.

4 years ago ·
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Nina Kovacevic

Nina Kovacevic · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks John
I am soaking roots now, and will let you know when I see some results

4 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Nina-If the sandy soil drains quickly it most likely wasn't holding enough water. When planting the cypress the hole should be dug as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. The sandy well draining soil taken from the hole should be mixed with a generous amount of organic matter such as mushroom compost, composted manure, or peatmoss before backfilling around the root ball. After planting spreading a couple of inches of mulch as you have done will help to insulate the soil keeping water from evaporating to quickly. Make sure you don't pile any mulch up against the trunks. Always keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the trunks as this will hold too much moisture against the trunk which can cause fungal diseases. Make sure the tree wasn't planted too deeply also. The soil in the growing container should be level or an inch or so above the surrounding soil level. Your newly planted trees should be kept moist but never too wet or dry. For the foliage to brown so quickly they most likely were not getting the water they needed. Too much water can also be a killer of the cypress. Too much water would normally be indicated first by limp stems and foliage possibly turning yellow before browning. It is best not to fertilize newly planted trees until they have had time to acclimate themselves to a new location and develop a more mature root system. Forcing grow on a tree that may be stressed for one reason or another can do more harm than good. It sounds as though your adding the garden soil and mulch helped to hold the water the trees needed to recover. Time will only tell if the one that is still brown will recover. You can scratch off small spots of the outer bark on limbs and areas of the trunk with your fingernail or knife to see if these areas are still alive. If the tissue below the outer bark is green it is still alive and may put out new growth. If the tissue is brown and the limb is brittle and breaks easily when bent it is dead. Any dead growth you find should be removed. Hopefully there is enough live growth for the tree to fill out again without having a lot of open areas of sparse foliage. You now want to keep these trees moist but never too wet. Digging down 6 to 8 inches in several location around the root balls the soil should feel cool and moist but never too wet or dry. A deep slow watering to make sure the entire root ball is moistened once or twice a week is better than a short watering every day. Once you know how much water is needed to keep the soil moist you can figure out how much watering will be needed each week.
Let me know what you find when checking to see if limbs are still alive.

John)



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