• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mark Tudor
  • Pearl Sutton

Stressed Dogwood  RSS feed

 
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live in zone 8 and planted a dogwood sapling back in December. It sprouted many leaves this spring and was doing well. About a week ago, I noticed a few leaves turning brown on the edges and suspected leaf scorch. It only gets about an hour of full sun a day on my balcony, but I immediately moved it inside to try and remedy it. I water it thoroughly when dry, so I don't think that under-watering is an issue. Anyway, so just yesterday, I noticed that all of the leaves are drooping and turning brown. Even the tips of the branches are darkening. What can I do to save my tree?

I've attached pictures. Thank you for advice!
15249436378362108677865.jpg
[Thumbnail for 15249436378362108677865.jpg]
Tree
15249436487311350243265.jpg
[Thumbnail for 15249436487311350243265.jpg]
Trunk
15249436742301887874597.jpg
[Thumbnail for 15249436742301887874597.jpg]
Leaves
15249436947631883021012.jpg
[Thumbnail for 15249436947631883021012.jpg]
Top of trunk and branch
 
Posts: 86
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Bailey!

First off we need to trouble shoot wats happening to your dogwood tree. It may not be as simple as one thinks because of all the potential contributing parameters. Based on your description, its safe to start looking at the soil.

Some questions that need answered to trouble shoot your soil: Is your soil ever or often soggy, and have you been over watering? Whats your soil pH, and is it off? What are your nitrate and nitrite levels, is it being nitrogen burned? What kind of water quality do you water with, and is it being salt burned?

The symptoms of your crispy leaves typically indicate a problem in the soil which is causing some type of burn. The quest we need to figure out is, whats contributing to cause the burn. For example is it over watering, creating a quick anaerobic breakdown of some lingering organics, that is raising nitrogen levels to high, while causing an undesirable pH, that makes the plant unable to survive with all those contributing factors? Or is it bad water from a water softener causing salt burn?

Tell us about your soil mix, any amendments you've added, any fertalizing schedule, your watering habbits, where your getting your water from, how that waters been treated, the water TDS ppm, and how you inspect your soil to determine moisture levels before watering?

Thanks!
 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have it planted in Miracle Gro Moisture Control mix. I water it using city water, but do plan to collect rain water the next time we get some. I usually check down to two inches before watering to see if the soil is moist.

I don't have any special equipment to check for pH or things like that, but have looked into getting a moisture meter. I fertilized it once with diluted Miracle Gro back in late Feb or early March when I used it on my other plants, but didn't use more than 3 or 4 ounces that was mixed with water. I focused mainly on my other plants.

I was considering buying a new type of dirt for it and repotting it if necessary, but have been waiting to see if it would improve beforehand, because I don't want to stress it out more, and I'm also unsure of what soil it would need.
 
R. Steele
Posts: 86
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello again Bailey!

It sounds like your not over watering it. So I think it would be smart to start with checking water quality, nitrogen levels, and if your pH went to alkaline from mineral salts. Yes you can get soil test kits fairly cheep, but to trouble shoot, it may be easier to just investigate first. Hear are some questions to find answers to, that will help figuring out the likely cause. Was the fertalizer dose you gave, a full dose? Did you double check the mixture for accuracy of dosage? Did you fertalize with pre-watered soil? Does the potting soil you used have fertalizer already mixed in? Miracle grow usually does. Was the fertalizer time realeased? Those are all important things to know to figured out what happened, so you can with the least stress correct the problem.

Its important when fertalizing, to fertalize already watered plants to avoid burn, especially when giving a full dose. I always recomend half doses, and flushing between fertalizings to help eliminate any salt accumulation. A sink side reverse osmosis system is almost essential for indoor plants, if you don't have adequate rainwater catchment, because mineral salt build up harms plants quickly. The mineral salts are alkaline, and the combination of salts and alkaline pH quickly does in most plants. Also if your city water, building or house uses a water softener, that will cause salt burn too from the salts used to soften the water.

 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay, so I checked the potting soil bag and it's Hyponex by Scotts, in a blue bag, not MG like I thought. On the back of the bag it states that it contains sphagnum peat moss and perlite to retain moisture and improve drainage. It also says it feeds plants for up to four months.

As for the added fertilizer, it was well under a full dose. I used a full dose divided among several of my other plants, because I'm cautious about fertilizing too much.

I definitely plan to catch rain water for it in the future, but until then I can check about bottled waters at the store to use, assuming that's okay? I can also go look for a kit to test the pH.

I'll do whatever I have to, to make sure my little tree is okay and will survive this, so I really do appreciate your help.
 
R. Steele
Posts: 86
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok, so was it 4 months after you planted the tree before you finally fertalized it? We are right at the 4 month mark now, give or take from December, depending on the day planted. Its also important to understand, the rate at which time realesed fertalizer release its nutrient salts, can depend on moisture levels. If you never watered through the container, to leach out excess salts, that time released fertalizer could have that tree on the verge of burn; then applying any more fertalizer could have catastrophic consequences. Did you ever leach out the container? Did you water the tree before any fertalizing you did?

If your going to buy water, I recomend you get and use distilled water for container plants.

There are still some unanswered questions as to when you fertalized the tree, and your process in doing so. I would like to rule out nitrogen burn, but I cant untill I understand the full process you used to fertalize, your watering technique, and the frequency of any fertalizer applications including the mix strength. Sometimes if fertalizer or water is miss measured, it can cause burn. It can also accumulate and cause burn especially if your not leaching out the salts between applications with a thorough soaking, then adding excess water to leach the salts out.

Let me know!
 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It was Miracle Gro Liquafeed, the kind you attach to a hose and spray without measuring since the hose dilutes it. I had watered the tree beforehand and used around 3 or 4 ounces of the diluted fertilizer. This was a couple of weeks ago, around the first week of the month. I had planted the tree back around the second week of December. This has been the one and only time I've fertilized it, and did not leach it. I do, however, from time to time, water thoroughly until the catch tray under the pot fills completely. I do empty it immediately though, so that there is no standing water.
 
R. Steele
Posts: 86
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well with unmeasured fertalizer meant for mostly ground bed applications, and not leaching out the time released fertalizer. It's a strong possibility the sudden decline of your dogwood is due to fertalizer burn. You can get a nitrogen test kit to verify this, so it may be smart to save a soil sample for testing to confirm that; however, you may want to take some immediate action. You can soak the container in water, and let the soil get saturated. Using a bucket or some container to soak your pot in will make things easier. Essentially your just soaking the soil, like a brew, then letting the saturated water dreain out. Do that several times over the course of an hour or so. The lower the TDS or (Total Disolved Solids) ppm or (parts per million) of the water you use, the better it will leach out any fertalizer salts.

That will be a deep watering, so make sure to verify moisture content before rewatering, as to avoid any over watering problems.

At this point, thats the best suggestion I can think of to resolve the issue, without waiting on supplies to run tests. Also make sure you return the tree to your patio, as it sounds like the light is recives there is already marginal, and indoor light typically won't be as continously strong.

Hope that helps!
 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I ordered a meter to check the pH, moisture, etc. and it will be here tomorrow afternoon.

Update on the tree: All of the leaves shriveled overnight and are completely wilted, even the newest two that seemed unaffected by whatever is causing this.
1525034360786696763005.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1525034360786696763005.jpg]
 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Update: All of the leaves have dropped. The meter I ordered came in and it says the pH is around a 7 or 7.5. The moisture and light readings seem fine and normal. A user on another blog suggested that it could be the soil itself, causing this to happen.
 
Posts: 180
Location: ALASKA
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just from your description I would not think that you have overdosed your tree on nitrogen.  I've used Miracle Gro in the past and have never been able to burn a plant, much less kill it, using Miracle Gro even with doubled the recommended rate on much more tender plants than a dogwood.   One question that I have as I have seen this happen on more than one occasion.  Did you plant it too deep?  A soil PH of 7 is a neutral ph.  Dogwoods generally like a bit more acidic soil than that, but I wouldn't think that the ph is the culprit.
 
Bailey Smith
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The first roots are no more than an inch or so deep, I tried to keep it as close to the level that it was planted before I got it.
 
I was born with webbed fish toes. This tiny ad is my only friend:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!