Does anyone know what might be wrong with these trees?

Discussion in 'Trees, Shrubs and Roses' started by kytaz, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. kytaz

    kytaz New Seed

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    I bought my house last year and these two evergreen trees that flank my front sidewalk look half dead on the backside. The front sides face East. We live in Zone 6. I don't know if I should pull them out and replace, or try to save them

    tree on left.jpg
    right tree.jpg
     
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  3. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    Looks like somebody sprayed the tree with acid... Because had it been a fungus or virus, or some type of a garden pest, it would effect the entire tree - So why just one side?

    So once again, this looks like some type of a chemical attack, (man-made)... Some half crazy neighborhood kid playing a nasty prank? Or anyone else who has a score to settle???

    If this is what I suspect it to be, an acid attack. Then here is what you need to do:

    Collect a few tablespoons of top soil from directly under the tree, (where the tree is worst effected). Mix it in a glass full of water. When it settles, do a pH paper test, (shown in this video).



    Next repeat the exact same experiment, with the same amount of top soil and water - But this time collect the soil from a different part of the garden.

    If the tree has been sprayed with acid, then the top soil directly below it will also become slightly acidic, (as the acid will drip off somewhere).

    So this experiment will show if the tree has been attacked by acid, or not, (if there is any difference between the 2 tests).

    I could of course be completely wrong, but over here in my part of the world. I have seen plants and trees attacked with acid at least 3 times in life, (when neighbors start to hate each other)...
     
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  4. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Oh dear, what a shame. Yes, I would pull them out. Usually conifers grow from the outward tips. They can be pruned, but not into the dead area...there just aren't any growing tips too far into any conifer tree.

    Is that tree an Alberta spruce? That's what it looks like to me. They are very slow growing, usually good for foundation plantings until, of course, they eventually get too big. They are prone to red spider mites (or least mine has been). I don't know what might have killed that side...usually you can see winter burn on Albertas, but that side looks like it is facing in towards the house, not out towards drying winds.

    But yes, I would yank them out.

    Let's see what the others think on this site. Maybe someone else knows how to save a tree to like that.

    PS, just curious:. On the healthy side, are the needles growing in a spiral fashion? Was this tree made into a spiral topiary? Or is that just the way the branches grow?
     
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  5. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I agree with CM... cut them down. no way to save those. it could have been salt damage if you live in a place that sprays brine on the streets and wind carried it to your trees, wind/cold damage or a fungal disease.
     
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  6. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Look for bagworms ! Small cocoons hanging off the tree needles and other dead stuff ! Have the same problem here in Texas but not on our native cedars just the ones bought for landscaping that are not native to Texas ! If you had caught it in time you can spray with permethrin after removing all the cocoons ! Takes forever to get it going again and there is no guarantee it will come back !
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    That looks to me like some "freezing wind damage".
    Is that damage on the northern side of the tree, BTW?
    An illness cannot be R/O at this moment.
    Is it a Taxus?
    Just trying to get a mental image of what is going on here.
     
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  8. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    S, that is an alberta spruce. and I agree with you as I think it is freezing wind damage too.
     
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  9. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    @carolyn do you see how the dead branches were growing in a spiral fashion? Do you happen to know if that is how Alberta Spruces grow?

    I'm just curious. I really don't think it was a topiary.
     
  10. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    @Cayuga Morning , it was pruned that way. good observation. I personally don't understand the desire to "shape" conifers into unnatural shapes, as interesting as it looks when you purchase them but they must be maintained. all that algae growing on the bark is a good indication something is severely wrong with the tree.
     
  11. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    You're right about that algae. Curious.

    In our words here at home when it is time to retire a plant: "off with it's head!". Gruesome reference I know.
     
  12. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Not sure about the prevailing wind but if the front faces east ?????
     
  13. Dirtmechanic

    Dirtmechanic In Flower

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    So a root fungus will actually do exactly as you see. There are multiple "branches" of root, often identifiable at the surface by a raised area of trunk at ground level. If the fungus moves elsewhere to other branches of root, the tree branches above will also suffocate. Identification is important, but the treatment is a systemic fungicide, and possibly ground injection with same.

    Additionally, the moss is usually thought to be benign, but there are sooo many plants out there where that "other plant" is a parasitic load in some function. I do not know which chicken or egg comes first, but I have a dead japanese maple and a struggling dogwood that both have gobs of it on the bark just like yours
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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