Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm worried about the Cryptomeria

{{Read an update to this post here}}

For the past month or so, I've noticed that our big Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) has been turning brown. I know that it usually does this but I don't recall seeing it to this extent. The entire backside of the tree looks completely brown and the opposite side is slowly turning brown also. Is this normal???





I can see new growth sprouting out from some of the branches. I hope this is a good sign that nothing is wrong.

If any tree experts can weigh in on this, I'd appreciate it!








Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

23 comments:

  1. It will be interesting to hear the diagnosis. It sure doesn't look good. Good luck.

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  2. I am sorry I cannot help you on this, and I do so hope your lovely tree recovers. Keep us posted.

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  3. looks close to the road - you don't think it got salted during all the snow events do you?

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  4. Not sure of the prognosis, but we're noticing more brown than normal on ours in Atlanta. It's not nearly as extreme as yours, though. The local extension agent here said he's concerned that it's just a delayed reaction to the drought of the past couple of years, and there's nothing to do but wait and see.

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  5. oh, no! what a disappointment - doesn't look good? Please let me know what you find out.

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  6. Tim, I hope you are right.

    David, it is not near the street. That is a rock pathway you are seeing in the background.

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  7. Leaf blight, leaf spot or fungi can cause inner foliage and tips to turn brown, also drying winter winds from what I've read. Hope it recovers, it's such a pretty tree. I have several stressed trees from the drought and a few dogwoods with shattered bark from late freezes. Mary

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  8. That does not look good Phillip. Not normal either. Have you changed anything to do with the soil around the tree or has it recieved more water than usuall this winter? It could even be Phomopsis Twig Blight. In our region (Nashville) we tell people not to "baby" their Cryptos but that does not look like the case here. I would contact an ISA Arborist and see if he can help.
    I enjoy your blog.
    Connor, Associate ASLA

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Actually here is your blight:

    Cercospora Needle Blight

    Cercospora needle blight, caused by the fungus Cercosporidium sequoiae (syn. Asperisporium sequoiae; Cercospora sequoiae), is a relatively new disease on Leyland cypress. However, it a common disease on species of Juniperus, Thuja, Cupressus, Taxodium, Cryptomeria, Sequoia and other genera. The first symptom of Cercospora needle blight is a browning of the needles in the lower crown next to the stem. The disease slowly spreads upward and outward until, in severe cases, only the needles at the tips of the upper branches remain green. In a general way, these symptoms mimic those caused by severe stress where the interior needles turn yellow and fall off. Fruiting bodies of the fungus appear as tiny, greenish pustules on the upper surface of the needles or on small twigs. Spores (conidia) are present throughout the spring and summer and are spread by wind. Infection usually occurs during periods of wet weather.

    Cercospora needle blight can be controlled by spraying with copper-containing fungicides. There are no fungicides registered specifically for the disease on Leyland cypress, but Kocide is registered for general use on ornamentals. Spray plants at 10-day intervals from bud break until new growth matures.

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  11. Phillip, Connor's comments sound "right on the money" to me. I would guess that a copper spray certainly couldn't hurt, but the real question is the feasibility from a financial point. We lost an oak a couple of years ago to a gall that decimated it over a few years. There is a spray to correct it, but who can afford a giant cherry picker coming to our homes every 10 days to hit a tree that size with spray? I wonder if there is a systemic that could be injected (still not cheap, though).

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  12. Connor, I can't thank you enough! Do you think it is too late to apply the copper fungicide?

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  13. I'm no tree expert, but from a northern point of view, we can often get 'winter kill'. If the fall was a bit dry, and there were a lot of cold drying winter winds. The bushes usually recover from resprouting farther inward which it looks like yours is doing.
    Is the deadest looking part facing the direction your wind would have come from?
    If so, that's my guess.

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  14. It looks to me that with that amount of damage, the tree may be beyond saving. I do agree that some of it may be winter kill or stress due to the blight, but i would guess that if you had an arborist look at it, they would not be able to save her. I would still have one look. Check this link http://www.isa-arbor.com/faca/findArborist.aspx
    to find one that is ISA certified.
    You should be able to find one that will do a consultation for free and then charge you for any work needed.
    Please keep us informed and I hope I have been wrong!

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  15. I can't add much to what has already been said, but I do this species is occasionally prone to damage from sweeping winter winds. If so it should recover. If it was my tree I would prefer that diagnosis to that of a fungal infection; spraying something that large will be an ordeal.

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  16. Hey Phillip,

    Gosh, I don't know, but that brown stuff is scary. I hope it's OK.

    Saw your article on "dill" in the AL. magazine. I've been meaning to subscribe to that magazine, but don't remember doing it. HMMMMM.

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  17. Your poor tree - I hope you can save it. We have the same problem on a couple of big Leylands although not as extensive. Ours are in a relatively protected area so I don't think it's wind. Thanks to Connor for explaining what it might be - going to try the copper fungicide.

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  18. Oh Phillip I hope it's able to recover~I can't believe the damage this winter's brought our gardens. gail

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  19. I wish I knew the answer for this one...but I'm crossing my fingers for you!

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  20. Phillip, the last time I speced Cryptomeria in a design, my contractor asked me to substitute another conifer. He said the Crypts are subject to a blight, since he is the one who guarantees the plants he wouldn't install them. Hope this is not the case with yours.

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  21. Did the cryptomeria survive? Several of mine have the same problems that started in Fall this year in Mississippi.

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  22. Chad, I thought it had tied and removed the lower branches. It was still alive,however, and began to sprout new growth. I do not live there anymore and I have not asked the present owners what has happened since I left but I will.

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