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Autumn Olives dying  RSS feed

 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Believe it or not, I have had an Autumn Olive die-off this year.  These were pretty well established trees that have been in the ground for a few years and have been producing heavily.  I have several that look dead and are brown underneath when you scratch at the bark.  A number of them have dead branches on one side of the tree and are struggling on the other, or have branches dying off while others look good and are going to produce berries.  We had really brutal wind storms this year that blew many of the leaves and blossoms from the trees that are dead/dying, so that may have killed them, but I've never seen that happen before.  I'm going to try lopping one of them off a foot or so above the ground with the hopes that it may recover next year.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'm going to start a bunch of cutting soon to try to get some more going, but I hate to lose most of my fruit-bearing trees.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I would pull some soil plugs around the roots, particularly at the drip line and inspect for insects and fungi.
Normally a wind event will not cause die back or death of a tree, it might damage some limbs but unless it shifted the trunk, the root structure should remain intact.
It is also possible that you have vole damage or gopher damage, check for the tell tale humps around the trees.

Redhawk
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I took a closer look last night and found these cracks in the trunks.  They are on most of the trunks where the die-off occurred.  Oddly, some of the trunks that have these are still leafed out and seem to be doing okay, at least for now.  I may cut the trees off just above the ground and below these fissures to see if that saves the trees.
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Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Has it been an extremely wet spring Todd? Or perhaps it was really wet then went dry really fast for an extended period?
I've seen bark cracking like that before and it was due to either of the above series of conditions.
The cambium swells and then shrinks quickly causing a separation between the cambium and bark resulting in cracks like those in your picture.
 
Todd Parr
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It has been extremely wet.  We have had really bad storms this year with several inches of rain in a few hours.

Any thoughts on whether cutting the trees below that point may save them?  On one autumn olive that I pruned heavily beneath the dead trunks, the cut-off spot turned white, like it possibly has a fungus growing or something.  I would really hate to lose these beautiful trees.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Instead of cutting them down right away I would try to seal the cracks first. Yes exposed wood, especially a fresh cut will be a prime spot for all the spores that are floating in the air.

I use Elmer's glue, the white stuff not the carpenter's glue. it seals the wood long enough for healing to start and the tree can push it away as the new growth moves in.

If you do cut the trunk off, be sure to spread a layer of Elmer's over that fresh cut to keep any fungi from landing and making a home in the wood.
 
Todd Parr
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Thank you Redhawk, that is a great idea.  I'll give it a try.
 
Marcus Billings
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Location: South Central Indiana
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Hi Todd,

I wasn't sure that there was anything that could slow down autumn olive.  I wish I ship you some the hundreds I have.  Redhawk's take on the bark splitting is in line with what I've seen in the past with a few other species.  One question, is this on mature bushes?  I ask, because I've never really given much thought to the lifespan of these bushes. (Mostly because I can't seem to get rid of them no matter what I do)  I've seen similar bark cracks in the past and they always seem to be on big, mature autumn olives.  Again, not sure of the "average lifespan".  Just a thought.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Autum Olive will produce for approximately 40 years then it will either stop producing or it will die.

in the world of olive trees it is a very short lived tree.
 
Todd Parr
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Marcus Billings wrote:Hi Todd,

I wasn't sure that there was anything that could slow down autumn olive.  I wish I ship you some the hundreds I have.  Redhawk's take on the bark splitting is in line with what I've seen in the past with a few other species.  One question, is this on mature bushes?  I ask, because I've never really given much thought to the lifespan of these bushes. (Mostly because I can't seem to get rid of them no matter what I do)  I've seen similar bark cracks in the past and they always seem to be on big, mature autumn olives.  Again, not sure of the "average lifespan".  Just a thought.


Marcus, if you have small ones, I'll happily pay for shipping if you want to send me 20 or so

These are 3 or 4 years old, so not near end-of-life yet.
 
Tj Jefferson
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Wow that is surprising. Todd we were discussing other legumes on that thread and it may be that caragana is a better bet. Russian olives are super hardy as well, but my experience is that they don't like wet feet and that may be true of the autumn olives as well.

What is growing in damp areas around there? Can you getindigobush?
 
Greg Martin
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Hi Todd, the only AOs that I've ever lost were planted where the soil wasn't well draining enough.  They really seem to like poor very well drained soil.  Good luck.
 
Todd Parr
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Thanks all for the replies.  As you have said, too much rain seems to be the answer.  The amount of rainfall we have had this year could best be described as "Biblical".  Our average for July are 4.5 inches or so.  We have had much more than that.  I can't find a site that gives the amount of rainfall occurring this month, but I'm nearly certain is has been more than a foot in July alone.  I have a number of friends, not in flood plains, that have anywhere from a foot to five feet of water in their basements.

I tried the Elmer's glue technique.  Hopefully that will save some of them.  I also took cutting from the ones that are still alive.  If the cuttings make it, I'll plant on mounds next time.  My heavy clay soil simply can't drain the enormous amounts of rain we have had this year.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
224
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hau Todd, I know your pain about the amounts of rain. I have started new swales in an effort to at least slow the flow of rainfall runoff.
I am digging these in front of the orchard trees and trying to get them set so the rain waters will zig-zag down the slope, thus allowing some soaking in at the tree's root zones and it might even help with keeping more water available during our draught months.

Redhawk
 
Todd Parr
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Wow that is surprising. Todd we were discussing other legumes on that thread and it may be that caragana is a better bet. Russian olives are super hardy as well, but my experience is that they don't like wet feet and that may be true of the autumn olives as well.

What is growing in damp areas around there? Can you getindigobush?


TJ, I have quite a few Siberian Pea Shrubs, and will be planting more.  They are surviving well, which surprises me a little, because I was told the only way you can hurt them is with too much water   The Pea Shrubs and the Seaberry bushes are both doing well considering, although they are getting some leaf-yellowing.  I actually got my first Seaberries this year.  I've never tried one before.  Looking forward to it.

I don't really know anything about Indigo Bush, but it looks interesting.  I'll see if I can find some and give them a try, thanks.

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Matt Stahl
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Location: Twin Oaks, missouri
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Sometimes in the winter the sun will heat the southern side of the trunk (in the northern hemisphere) causing expanding and cracking or scars in the bark allowing rot to get in. I'm not necessarily saying that's the problem but I see trees suffer from this and survive. Is this in random directions or dose it face the sun.
 
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