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westes

Question on Conifer Turning Brown

westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
3 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

I received two Pinus Mugo and bare-rooted one of those. The next day I planted it in a 5-gallon container with appropriate soil whose pH is around 5.5 to 5.8. The needles of the one conifer that I bare rooted are starting to turn brownish. I assume this is just the roots drying out too much and the problem is just drying out combined with some transplant shock. Should I be concerned about this? Other than making sure the new soil stays moist but well-drained, is there anything I can be doing to help the plant along? I will put it in partial shade as well. Assuming replanting it is going to work, how long should it be before the browning stops and turns around?

The first photo is the plant with browning needles. The second plant is its sister that is not bare rooted yet.



Comments (14)

  • plantkiller_il_5
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    If all you were going to do is up-pot it , I don't know why you bare rooted it .

    I don't know about recovery

    ron

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked plantkiller_il_5
  • steve duggins(Z6a) - Central Ohio
    3 years ago

    Once the needles go brown, they are done. I think you need to wait for the pine to push new growth to see green again.

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked steve duggins(Z6a) - Central Ohio
  • treebarb Z5 Denver
    3 years ago

    Was this potted or balled and burlap? How did you bare root it, with water or did you scrape off the soil? You say you re-potted it the next day. Were the roots covered and kept moist overnight before replanting?

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked treebarb Z5 Denver
  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    @treebarb Z5 Denver The seller took the plant out of a 2-gallon pot and placed the rootball that was about 7-inch diameter into a plastic bag for shipping. I both washed the roots with water and also manually extracted the soil. I bare rooted it because the roots were a tangled mess and had grown into the center of the plant. It took more than 30 minutes to untangle it all.

    I did try to keep it moist, but I really should have had the new soil prepared in advance so that I could have minimized drying out of the roots.

    Now that the plant is in the new soil I think it has stabilized, but if I am understanding the other responses the brownish needles will need to fall out and new ones will need to grow in? Or are these permanently brown and will just get hidden as the plant grows?

  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    I added photos to the original post.

  • plantkiller_il_5
    3 years ago

    Don't over do the watering ...Let it rest , and we will have to see

    the flagging of the candles is a tell

    ron

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked plantkiller_il_5
  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @plantkiller_il_5 What do you mean by "flagging" of the candles? What is healthy and what is not healthy? How do they look to you now?

  • alley_cat_gw_7b
    3 years ago

    Hi westes, I don't enjoy telling you this but when spring growth is on going and candles are extended getting ready to open that means there is a lot going on topside with you tree and probably the worst time to do major root disruption.
    Brown needles won't green up. It's responding to having its roots roughed up. From this point forward I wouldn't let it dry out for long periods and let the healing and adjusting take place.
    If your considering fertilizer now the answer is no...it's another stressor...
    Probably not fatal but may look funky for a season...the new growth will help.

    All the best

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked alley_cat_gw_7b
  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @alley_cat_gw_7b That is all part of buying from a bad reseller who gave zero communication before, during, or after purchase. There were no instructions about when, how, or if to transplant the plant. The roots of this plant were grotesque, which I guess we can blame on the grower, not the reseller. The healthier plant went through an even more brutal bare rooting process and was immediately placed into the new soil. It seems to be none the worse for that. With the first plant, I made the mistake to leave the plant bare-rooted overnight and that was more stress than the plant could apparently handle. It will be a learning experience to see how the plant recovers over time.

  • plantkiller_il_5
    3 years ago

    WHAT ALLEY SAID


    flagging is just drooping of foliage ,, it indicates extreme stress


    :" With the first plant, I made the mistake to leave the plant bare-rooted overnight "


    extreme stress

    ron

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked plantkiller_il_5
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    3 years ago

    "There were no instructions about when, how, or if to transplant the plant. "

    And there never will be. No grower or even retail seller will provide instructions like that as there are just far too many variables for them to be very specific. So you really cannot blame them :-) It is incumbent upon you to know when is a good time to bare root an evergreen, conifer or BLE. And it is a pretty small window that ended long before you received these plants.

    And just an FYI but you never want to leave the roots exposed on anything received as or converted to bare root for any length of time at all. Even minutes of exposure can damage the root system and stress the plant....sometimes to the point of failure.

    westes Zone 9b California SF Bay thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9) every plant I receive by mail order has planting instructions. Now I will admit that many of those instruction sheets are borderline useless and some have wrong information, but the attempt is at least made. If conifers are some kind of super-delicate plant that need to immediately go into their planting soil, at minimum say that.

    Point taken on bare rooting, but unfortunately most of my experience is with succulents, where leaving a plant bare rooted is a) not a big deal and b) usually the recommended procedure in order to let the roots heal and minimize the chances of getting root rot on transplant.

    Conifers are not succulents, and yes I should have researched this better.

  • westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @plantkiller_il_5 We are all plant killers. :)

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