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Sick Libernum tree

Discussion in 'Trees' started by JDQuinn, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. JDQuinn

    JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi guys,

    I hope someone can give me a little advice on a sick libernum I have. It is a young sapling about 7ft tall. I bought it about early August time last year and planted it within a few days of purchase. The rootball appeared healthy and I planted it by digging out, loosening the surrounding soil, mixed in some bonemeal, peat based compost and gravel and placed the top of the rootball a little proud of the surrounding soil. I didn't notice any premature wilting last year when the leaves dropped in autumn.

    This year I was paying close attention to the 6 trees I bought with this one. They all came into bud and leafed around late April. These were a mix of plum and acers. The libernum came into bud but has not leafed at all. From my neighbours libernum I can tell they leaf a little later at around late may. (His leafed and flowered beautifully this year.). I put a little more bone meal and chicken manure pellets around all my hedge and trees in May this year.

    My wife is at me to rip it out and replace it but I believe the tree to be still alive as the small new growth branches are still bendy and healthy green under the bark.

    Is it possible the tree is still alive and could recover next year? Is there anything I should be doing to help it?

    IMG_2446.JPG

    IMG_2451.JPG
     
  2. JDQuinn

    JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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  3. Tetters

    Tetters Gardener

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    Sorry JD, but I reckon your wife might be right. I can`t see much green under the bark on the photo. Laburnum is quite tough usually, and I am wondering if you are watering plants in enough when you first plant them. If I remember correctly you lost a couple of Hebes too. :sad:

    As a matter of interest, Have you checked the soil where you are? Is it acid or alkaline? Is it a new plot where the builders have been at work?
     
  4. Sheal

    Sheal Total Gardener

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    I'm puzzling over this JD. :scratch: The cutting in the second picture suggests it is still alive and looks like it has a leaf bud attached too. I'll try a little trouble-shooting for you.....

    Was the rootball a solid mass when you planted it, or did you separate and spread the roots when planting?

    The roots should be completely underground only the graft, if there is one should be above.

    I would only feed a young tree on planting which you have done, but not given it a second feed this year allowing it to take it's own time to establish. If the original feed was put directly on to the roots it may have burnt them, it should always be mixed into the soil that you're back filling with.

    Was it watered well particularly through dry spells including winter if that was dry too? The roots would still be pretty close to the surface and dry out quickly.

    The only other thing I can suggest at the moment is perhaps it has gone into shock for some reason and will need time, perhaps over this coming Autumn and Winter to recover. For the time being I would leave it alone and see if it produces leaves next Spring.

    With respect @Tetters the type of soil shouldn't make any difference, Laburnum adapts to all types. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  5. Tetters

    Tetters Gardener

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    Mmm - that`s quite right Sheal, but it is so puzzling that this tree should behave as it has while all the others planted at the same time appear to be doing well.... then there are the hebes that curled their toes up.. maybe indicating lack of water :scratch::scratch: ... could it be something in the ground there that`s causing the trouble ?
     
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    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      As you say Tetters it's puzzling. I think if there was anything in the ground to worry about then JD would have come across it while planting the trees. As you can see I've made suggestions above and perhaps JD's reply might shed some light on what's happening. :)
       
    • JDQuinn

      JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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      Hi guys, much appreciate you taking the time to reply. I'll try to answer the questions as accurately as possible.

      Both Hebes are now recovering well. I cut them back several inches and it appears to have done them wonders. It could have been a lack of water for these.

      I haven't had it tested. The soil is quite different all over the lawn as I've had a couple of soil imports from different areas before I had even a small understanding of soil types. Where the Labernum is located the top soil is at least 18" deep, some is original and some from a neighbouring field with similar soil type. It appears rich in colour being deep brown, is water retaining and not especially free draining which is why I mixed some gravel with the planting mixture. This area of the lawn over winter does seem to hold a little too much water as it is squelchy if walked on at that time of year. I tend not to be able to cut the lawn until end of April due to the risk of damaging the turf. The young beech saplings in the hedge immediately behind have always done fine here (originally planted bare root 1ft) so I assume the water retention isn't actually too serious if these have survived.

      The root ball was a solid mass but I would say not compacted. I gingerly rubbed my hands over the roots at the side to loosen them a little to encourage them to spread into the new soil.

      Feed was mixed into the back fill soil before planting. I poured at least two full 5L watering cans over and around the rootball to settle the soil and water in. The tree has a weed membrane around it with gravel on top of that as well.

      As stated above, over winter there would not have been a lack of water, however at the budding stage we were going through an unusually prolonged dry period here in N.Ireland and I neglected to water any of my plants. Everything else appears to have coped fine though except for some hawthorn bushes in my hedge which have been severely stunted this year compared to others however these are now making a recovery. The Hawthorn issue may not have been water related but Gardener related. :doh:

      could it be something in the ground there that`s causing the trouble ?
      Click to expand...​
      I used to have a problem with Leatherjackets several years ago which was indicated by lots of Daddy Long Legs flying around in September. I treated this a few years ago which fed the birds for a few days and ever since I have had next to no daddy long legs around. I used to see grubs every time I dug but now I see very few of them. I seem to have a healthy worm population as well. So at them present time I don't believe there is a soil problem.

      From this I hope you guys can help me decide what to do. I haven't inspected the tree since this post but the buds have not enlarged and there is no sign of recovery.

      Thanks

      Jonny
       
      Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Think I'd take it out, if it hasn't leafed up by now it is not going to, so it will probably die back through the winter months.
      If any of it should survive it is unlikely to romp away next year.

      They grow like weeds around here, I'm guessing yours though is a variety?

      If it is not going to break the bank I'd buy a new one and plant this winter.
       
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      • Sheal

        Sheal Total Gardener

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        Well I can't see any planting problems from your reply JD and I doubt there's anything in the ground grub-wise that would affect it. Pete is probably right, it should have leafed up by now but I'm a stickler for giving things a second chance and would leave it in until next Spring - just to see. Of course the decision is yours whether to give it a chance or start again with another tree. :)
         
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        • JDQuinn

          JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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          Thanks for the replies again. I'll take a snipping tomorrow to see if there is still green in the stems. If it looks like it's failed further I'll take it out. It's not the money, I just hate to dispose of something that might come good. Is it too late in the year to plant a replacement if it has failed?
           
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          • Sheal

            Sheal Total Gardener

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            Dig it out by all means but I'd wait until later in the year when trees are dormant to replace it, possibly late autumn when they are leafless. It will give the new tree a chance to settle it's roots before coming into bud next spring. :)
             
          • Tetters

            Tetters Gardener

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            Jonny, I still wonder if the problem is in the soil. You say that you have imported soil from a nearby field. What was that field used for? If there are damaging chemicals of any kind in that soil, you will have trouble planting in it.
            If you do plant another Laburnum, maybe it could be placed in a different position - Percy Thrower always said ''The answer lies in the soil''
             
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            • JDQuinn

              JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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              Hi Tetters, the soil was imported 7 years ago and the land it came from would have been grazed by cattle or silage. It would not have been sprayed frequently if at all. The original ground below was rough ground, never cultivated or used. It may well have been bog land many years ago but all the peat has been removed and the land drained.
              I think it is just one of those things, my lawn turf is healthy in the area, my hedglings are healthy beside it and the trees behind are thriving.
               
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              • Tetters

                Tetters Gardener

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                Maybe the bloomin` thing had a mood then - tell it it`s going on the bonfire, and it will probably spring forth into bud ;)
                 
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                • shiney

                  shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                  I always give things a second chance but it depends on how quickly you want to fill the space. :noidea:
                   
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