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Old 11-23-2022, 02:34 PM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
Reputation: 1281

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My Tri Color Beech is not leafing our properly. Some leaves are very small some are extra large and there are also different buds that did not bloom.

I am posting some pictures to show the issues. The photos may have to be zoomed in on to see what I am describing.

It was planted in 2017 and I have never fertilized it. I read of a similar situation elsewhere that it maybe a root entwined around the rootball chocking the tree? And that digging around the rootball and cutting any harmful roots will help. But that seems like over kill.

Any suggestions?

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Old 11-23-2022, 08:30 PM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,559 posts, read 12,354,979 times
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I'll suggest you click on the links you posted and see if they work for you. They don't work for me, the message I get for each one is:

Bad Request
Error 400

.
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Old 11-25-2022, 06:48 AM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
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Thanks Zoisite !





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Old 11-25-2022, 06:23 PM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,559 posts, read 12,354,979 times
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Thanks Stone28, that's better.

Yes, the tree is having difficulties. I see four issues that I'd suggest you take corrective measures against. I'll leave it up to your own judgement about whether of not that tree is worth it to you to take the corrective measures. A healthy beech just gets better and better looking and more productive as it matures, and beeches can live between 250 to 350 years of age. Yours is just a baby having some growing pains but you can fix them.

1 = too much sun exposure, 2 = no exposure to the tree trunk base (root crown), 3 = wrong type of mulch used, 4 = no introduction of fertilizer in 6 years since it was planted, and no mycorrhizal fungi innoculant to create a network of beneficial mycelium for both the beech and the lawn.

1 - Beech trees do best as understory trees requiring partial or dappled shade throughout the day and they prefer the company of other trees nearby. They are highly susceptible to sun scorch and I see evidence of sun scorch on the leaves of your tree because it has full exposure to sunlight. Apparently all day long? If you want to keep it where it is and help reduce the sun exposure you could consider planting two or three complimentary companion shade trees to the south and west of the beech. Japanese ornamental maples or ornamental birches would be good because the sweet sap and leaves they produce and drop would be beneficial to the roots of the beech.

2 - Your beech is a grafted tree, I can see where the graft is. Tricolour beeches aren't native to North America, they're of European native origin so the tricolours that are produced in North America are generally tricolour grafts that have been grafted onto the root stock of certain species of North American native beeches. Yours is a good strong graft but the crown of the North American root stock that it was grafted onto has been covered up too deeply and too high up the trunk by the soil and mulch you put down. This can cause the roots to cross over, choke up and strangle each other, and can also prevent proper nutrients from being absorbed by the lower hair roots and feeder roots and cause stunting and malformation of the tree branches and leaves. It's a very common mistake for many people to pile on way too much soil and mulch around the bases of newly planted trees. The tree trunk should look like it is arising out of a dimple or depression in the ground instead of growing out of flat ground (like yours) or from the center of a high mound of soil and mulch.

You can easily correct that oversight by removing just enough of the mulch from around the trunk base so that the crown of the root stock is exposed and you can visibly see where the tree roots are coming out of the crown and going down into the ground.

3 - Wrong kind of mulch and too much of it. You have too many big, un-rotted, non-composted wood chips in the mulch around the tree. Those big non-composted wood chips will be taking nitrogen out of the ground and depriving the tree roots of the essential nitrogen and other nutrients it needs. You can correct that by raking off a top layer of the mulch and pay special attention to raking out as many of the big wood chips as you can get out of there. Then loosen and aerate the remaining soil/mulch.

4 - The whole tree is stunted and becoming malformed which indicates it's on it's way to dying if you don't intercede on its behalf. You absolutely have got to put down some fertilizer to the entire mulched area within the circle of rocks and water it in. Add a generous portion of bone meal to it too, to help prevent it from going further into shock and decline. Maintain a good fertilizing program for it, fertilize it at the very least once a year in the spring, every year, and you will see huge improvements in the tree's response in spite of the leaf scorch that it suffers from.

Further to applying fertilizer, there is one other thing you can do to greatly help both the tree and the surrounding lawn and that is to innoculate the soil around the tree with mycorrhizal fungi innoculant to create a network of beneficial mycelium growing underground in the soil. Below is a website that goes into full details about the purpose of innoculation of the soil and your beech would come under the classification of a nut tree so you will know what kind of innoculant you need to give to it. Take note that beeches in particular are very dependent on mycelium in the soil in their natural wilderness state and are even more dependent on it in artificial settings such as urban residential landscapes, parks, street medians, etc.

This tutorial is long, take your time reading to the end so you can fully comprehend the excellent information contained there as it would apply to your beech: https://permacultureapprentice.com/food-forest-fungi/

I hope the above information helps you correct at least some of your tree's needs and I wish you and the beech tree good luck.

.

Last edited by Zoisite; 11-25-2022 at 06:31 PM..
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Old 11-25-2022, 07:24 PM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
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The tree is planted in zone 7a, central New Jersey. At it's peek during the summer it gets sun from 9:00 Am through 4:00 PM. I was considering planting a Japanese Yew "Taxus cuspidata" to its west. Or possibly a Weeping Alaskan Cedar.


Would you advise to apply the fertilizer and bone meal now or wait until late winter or early spring? I am looking forward to reading the link you posted. Also should I remove the mulch and aerate now also or wait?

A few thing's I did not mention is that the tree is planted near a septic system. It is just beyond its perimeter.

Also a few of the branches had a large growth spurts and are now wilting.
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Old 11-26-2022, 03:29 AM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,559 posts, read 12,354,979 times
Reputation: 31333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone28 View Post
The tree is planted in zone 7a, central New Jersey. At it's peek during the summer it gets sun from 9:00 Am through 4:00 PM. I was considering planting a Japanese Yew "Taxus cuspidata" to its west. Or possibly a Weeping Alaskan Cedar.


Would you advise to apply the fertilizer and bone meal now or wait until late winter or early spring? I am looking forward to reading the link you posted. Also should I remove the mulch and aerate now also or wait?

A few thing's I did not mention is that the tree is planted near a septic system. It is just beyond its perimeter.

Also a few of the branches had a large growth spurts and are now wilting.
I hate to say this if you have your heart set on evergreens but I think planting either the Japanese Yew or Weeping Alaska Cedar nearby the beech would be disastrous as companion plants. They are acidic evergreens which require different soil conditions from beech and the yew and cedar are too acidic to be having their roots near the vicinity of beech roots. Also, I don't know if you're aware of it but all parts of all of the yew species are extremely toxic, it's one of the most toxic plants known and in some cultures is known as 'the tree of death'.

Your beech needs deciduous companion trees, not evergreens, that are compatible with regard to needing similar soil conditions, that do not produce 'hostile' chemicals toxic to other plants or wildlife. Avoid any trees in the walnut family for that reason. The deciduous companion trees should preferably produce sap that is slightly sweet and watery, safe to taste in its raw state or for physical contact with the skin, and have soft, tender, non-acidic leaves that can be used as mulch or composted material on other plants. I mentioned maple and birch but other possibilities would be apple, poplar, linden - that's just off the top of my head but there are others that you could research online.

I think you should wait until early spring to fix the mulch, aerate soil and fertilize the beech (and innoculate the soil then too if you can), but it would be helpful if you could get a good dose of bone meal worked into the soil right now directly over the root zone and up to the drip line beneath the branches. Do that as soon as possible and water the bone meal in well. Then after you make your other soil adjustments and fertilize it in spring give it some more bone meal again.

I can't comment on the septic system other than to say if you aren't putting a lot of harmful chemicals into it and you have good drainage then it is likely okay to be nearby.

Branches that had a large growth spurt and are now wilting is one of the signs of not enough water or possible shock as a result of other problems which is another reason why I'm advising to get some bone meal applied as soon as possible.

.
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Old 11-26-2022, 11:46 AM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
Reputation: 1281
But wait....there's more

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ID:	240623 Butterflies "Yellow" Magnolia

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ID:	240624 Japanese Stewartia

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ID:	240625 Cherokee Chief Dogwood

The Weeping Japanese Snowbell, Butterflies Yellow Magnolia and the Cherokee Chief were all planted last spring. I removed the burlap they were wrapped in prior to planting. I am getting mixed opinions on that.

The Japanese Stewartia was planted by a Nursery I believe in the fall of 2018 or 2017. Along with the the two "Emperor 1" Japanese Maples. Again I have never fertilized any of them.

I would like to add I also have a Kousa Dogwood (Not pictured) that was in the ground since 2008 and was having many issues until I fertilized it with those miracle grow spikes and since then it has really became healthy looking.

The Stewartia is a little finicky, it did not bloom the first season and the second it had like three blooms and now I get many. But it also has problems with not leafing out properly. One season the top and bottom leaves were full and the middle had little foliage and now it seems the bottom of the tree is not leafing out properly.

Just wondering what you thought of the rootball's. And also should I be fertilizing the Stewartia and the new trees. And with what?

Thanks Zoisite!
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Old 11-26-2022, 11:50 AM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
Reputation: 1281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
I hate to say this if you have your heart set on evergreens but I think planting either the Japanese Yew or Weeping Alaska Cedar nearby the beech would be disastrous as companion plants. They are acidic evergreens which require different soil conditions from beech and the yew and cedar are too acidic to be having their roots near the vicinity of beech roots. Also, I don't know if you're aware of it but all parts of all of the yew species are extremely toxic, it's one of the most toxic plants known and in some cultures is known as 'the tree of death'.

Your beech needs deciduous companion trees, not evergreens, that are compatible with regard to needing similar soil conditions, that do not produce 'hostile' chemicals toxic to other plants or wildlife. Avoid any trees in the walnut family for that reason. The deciduous companion trees should preferably produce sap that is slightly sweet and watery, safe to taste in its raw state or for physical contact with the skin, and have soft, tender, non-acidic leaves that can be used as mulch or composted material on other plants. I mentioned maple and birch but other possibilities would be apple, poplar, linden - that's just off the top of my head but there are others that you could research online.

I think you should wait until early spring to fix the mulch, aerate soil and fertilize the beech (and innoculate the soil then too if you can), but it would be helpful if you could get a good dose of bone meal worked into the soil right now directly over the root zone and up to the drip line beneath the branches. Do that as soon as possible and water the bone meal in well. Then after you make your other soil adjustments and fertilize it in spring give it some more bone meal again.

I can't comment on the septic system other than to say if you aren't putting a lot of harmful chemicals into it and you have good drainage then it is likely okay to be nearby.

Branches that had a large growth spurt and are now wilting is one of the signs of not enough water or possible shock as a result of other problems which is another reason why I'm advising to get some bone meal applied as soon as possible.

.
In a way I am kind of relieved to hear the negatives on the Japanese Yew. I would have had to put a sturdy deer fence around it to avoid damage. Same with the Alaskan Weeping Cedar.

I have time to think about planting in that spot. I may not even get to it next season.

Definitely adding bone meal ASAP.

Thanks
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:53 AM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,559 posts, read 12,354,979 times
Reputation: 31333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone28 View Post

..... Just wondering what you thought of the rootballs. And also should I be fertilizing the Stewartia and the new trees. And with what?
If you're referring to rootballs that were wrapped in burlap I think it's always best to remove the burlap before planting the trees in the ground. The burlap is just supposed to be a temporary thing to keep the roots contained and to retain moisture since most of them are filled with sawdust, not with soil. That's not healthy, plus the burlap creates an impediment for new root growth to become established.

Do you have plenty of earth worms on your property? If not, you need some earth worms put down in the ground around each tree. Your soil doesn't look fertile or humousy to me, it looks too compacted, like it has a lot of clay, but it's hard to tell for sure from photographs. I think the soil definitely needs to be amended. Have you had your soil analyzed? It's best to do that if you want to know what kinds of fertilizers your trees are going to need in accordance with each tree's specific soil conditions that it needs.

Yes, you should be fertilizing ALL of your trees. Until you get results of soil analysis you can't go wrong with making up some weak compost tea and give that to your trees or else put down some well rotted composted horse manure mixed with some leafy organic soil scattered about all around each tree.

In a couple of the above pictures I'm seeing black plastic sticking up out of the ground around the trees. What is your purpose for having the plastic there and how deep down in the ground does it go around the roots? If that plastic goes deep down that will impede air and water circulation in the ground and is also going to act as an impediment to new roots growing and will cause them to become root bound and strangled in the ground.

To make compost tea: https://www.almanac.com/content/how-...fore%20brewing.

.

Last edited by Zoisite; 11-28-2022 at 02:18 AM..
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Old 11-28-2022, 08:35 AM
 
Location: The Garden State
1,268 posts, read 2,834,300 times
Reputation: 1281
I removed the burlap wrapping around the rootball. Against the advise of the garden center where I purchased the trees from. They also told me the rootball are loaded with nutrients and do not need to be fertilized.

I definitely have a lot of earth worms. And yes we do have clay soil below the topsoil. I am going to have my soil tested. According to my cheap three way meter my PH is neutral.

The black plastic is a weed barrier. It is permeable with holes . The plastic weed barrier sits on top of the topsoil and below a 2 inch layer of mulch. I am guessing that is probably a no no?

Thanks for the compost tea link and everything else.
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