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yellowing leaves in my forest garden

 
John Thames
Posts: 22
Location: Montana
forest garden hugelkultur hunting
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Not sure if this is the best place but I have a quotation about some black cherry trees I have. I live in Montana zone 4a and planted a food forest this spring and in it I put about 10 bare root black cherry trees. They leafed out and started looking awesome right away! But suddenly now those trees' leaves have quickly turned yellow. It seems like they start yellowing at the top working its way down the small tree. My research suggests this might be due to over watering. My question is first is this actually the most likely cause? And secondly if it is over watering is there anything I can do to help reverse this other than to reduce watering? Perhaps dig back some of the soil to help dry it out? Any help is appreciated. Also, I'm watering via a drip line if that makes a difference.
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 709
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Pear and cherry slug? Look for the slugs.
Or a nutrient deficiency (nitrogen?), it can as well be something too much (salt?).
Over or under watering.
 
John Thames
Posts: 22
Location: Montana
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A nitrogen deficiency was my first thought so I sprayed an organic fish seaweed based 5-1-1 on them recently and nothing changed! I did that twice 3 days apart. That's when my preliminary research had me thinking over watering. I haven't checked for any slugs though. Would there be sign of leaves being eaten or would it be attacking the root or crown? The leaves are still intact just yellow.
 
Angelika Maier
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Yes you see it when the slugs eat the leaves. Overwatering can be.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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John Thames wrote:My research suggests this might be due to over watering. My question is first is this actually the most likely cause? And secondly if it is over watering is there anything I can do to help reverse this other than to reduce watering


If you are watering, that is the most likely cause. I generally only water when I plant a tree. With the exception of a drought, I don't water again.

The only other cause I haven't seen listed as a possibility is too much shade.
 
Dave Lodge
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Location: New England
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Overwatering will reduce how much it can uptake in nutrients and washes away nutrients that are water soluable. Black Cherry is a pioneer plant and doesn't need much, if any additional water. Shallow, spreading roots, so mulching helps a lot. I only water when wilting in the first year and never after that.
 
John Thames
Posts: 22
Location: Montana
forest garden hugelkultur hunting
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Dave Lodge wrote:Overwatering will reduce how much it can uptake in nutrients and washes away nutrients that are water soluable. Black Cherry is a pioneer plant and doesn't need much, if any additional water. Shallow, spreading roots, so mulching helps a lot. I only water when wilting in the first year and never after that.


I double checked for slugs or other critters this morning and there is no sign of them around the trees or of their presence munching on the leaves. So this leads me to believe it's definitely an over watering issue. Which surprises me because I was only watering for 30 minuets about every 4-5 days.

The follow up question then is other than obvious answer of, "quite watering your trees dumbass, the whole purpose of permaculture is to reduce/eliminate inputs!", is there anything I can do to help them recover? Not all of the leaves have yellowed and non have actually fallen off yet. Should I gently pull back some of the dirt around the base to help dry out the soil? Or just leave them only and hope I didn't do to much damage? Thanks again for all the responses and help.
 
Michael Newby
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If I'm going to be around the plants often, whether it be trees or smaller plants, I try to wait for the first signs of wilting before giving them supplemental water. That way the plant regularly experiences the beginnings of stress from lack of water and responds with more/deeper roots making it more water resilient.
 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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John Thames wrote:Or just leave them only and hope I didn't do to much damage?


The only thing I would recommend at this point is to leave them alone and if you mow, mulch with your grass clippings to give them a shot of N. If you don't have grass clippings, maybe a little compost/compost tea might help.
 
John Thames
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Location: Montana
forest garden hugelkultur hunting
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Cj Verde wrote:

The only thing I would recommend at this point is to leave them alone and if you mow, mulch with your grass clippings to give them a shot of N. If you don't have grass clippings, maybe a little compost/compost tea might help.


I have both grass clippings and compost. I'll add some mulch and hope they recover. Like I said they still have some green leaves left so hopefully I haven't doomed them!

Thanks everyone for your comments and help. Permies folks are awesome!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I've been watching something similar maybe, on a few of my sour cherry tree's leaves. that I am convinced is from too much moisture. I don't water the trees...we have been having a lot of rain. Normally we need every drop right now so my trees are all planted in 'basins'. The yellow leaves have grayer blotchy places also and fall off easily. Hope you don't mind my posting a picture...just curious if your yellow leaves look similar...I can remove the picture later.
The tree is a few years old so I am thinking of pruning the few tips that are yellowed. Other than the bits of yellowing the tree looks fine and is sending out new growth on all of the tips where the deer did some pruning.
sourcherry 010.jpg
[Thumbnail for sourcherry 010.jpg]
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Yellow leaves in my area mean iron deficiency.
 
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