Problems with a Squamata meyeri

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Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:06 pm

Can anyone suggest a reason for the tips of the foliage on this juniper turning brown?
I believe the variety is Squamata Meyeri. I have several of these trees and find that it is quite common for the growing tips to die off like this, although the remaining foliage on the branch appears fine. The tree is fed regularly with Miracle Grow and Maxi Crop at the same time as all my other trees.
I realise the foliage pads need to be built up a lot, but I need the tree to grow healthily first. - Any suggestions?



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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  JimLewis on Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:30 pm

Oh My. That tree does not look well. Have you examined it (the white paper test) for spider mites?

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:47 pm

No I haven't - please explain what I should do / look for ?

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Rick Moquin on Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:57 am

Basically you place a sheet of paper under a foliage pad and do a little shaking. If the white paper is covered with little black dots, you have a spider mite infestation.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Kev Bailey on Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:47 am

That's exactly what I was going to suggest until I scrolled down. I've had Meyeri damaged in exactly the same way by red spoider mite infestation. Regular misting with just water deters them.

If they pass the spider mite paper test, look closely for small white dots. I've also had these on another juniper and they were tiny scale insects that specialise in feedin on junipers.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:09 pm

Rather than shaking, however, just flick the foliage with your finger. And the dots could be a rusty red, too.

Misting will keep them away. You may have to give the top of the tree a hard spray of water to get rid of them initially.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Mon May 06, 2013 10:07 pm

Hi Guys - I thought you may be interested in an update on this tree.

It is now almost 4 years since I first asked for help with a sick and ailing Squamata Meyeri. Although I followed the various advice, none of it seemed to work. I ended up simply planting the tree in the garden, & to my surprise the tree has thrived. If anyone could explain why I would love an explanation.

As you can see from this close up of the foliage, the tree is now healthy and ready to be styled.

However, the best of my Squamata’s seems to have come down with the same problem. The tree is still in development and this picture is about a year old...............


This is one of my favourite trees, which has been developed from Nursery material. If you look at this page on my blog you can see how I have developed it over the last 4 years.
http://www.pembrayr.com/ab7.htm

If you look at the following images you can also see it is not at all well.



I have checked and sprayed for mites but found nothing and the problem is getting worse. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do ?

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  0soyoung on Mon May 06, 2013 10:22 pm

Should we suspect some troubles with roots?

Does well in ground. Tips go brown in pot. hmmm, ...

It could be lots of things that would seem to boil down to either root pruning that is too severe or potting medium that doesn't drain or is too dry, with the outside chance of soil temperatures that are too high since a pot of soil in the sun will get far hotter than any 'ground'.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 06, 2013 10:25 pm

Peter, we all ,could give better assistance if you would modify your profile to tell us whereabouts you live -- like or as in my signature, for instance.

Many thanks.

The tree is looking good.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  fiona on Mon May 06, 2013 10:48 pm

Peter lives in the west of Scotland not far from me. He is also coastal which may make a difference.

Peter, have you noticed birds and/or cats anywhere near this tree? Serious question as I lost a couple of garden squamata that were beside the bird table.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Tue May 07, 2013 7:51 pm

As indicated by Fiona, I live in the West of Scotland. I have had this tree in a pot for about 5 years; I have repotted it twice in that time. It positively thrived after the last repot. Indeed it was so vigorous that I thinned out the foliage after Ayr Flower show last August. Its been in a steady decline ever since. I recall that another of our members lost a Squamata the year before in similar circumstances. This is a variety that seems to thrive in peoples gardens in this part of the world. I see them in gardens all over the West coast, but never showing this type of problem. I am beginning to think that it may be somethig to do with the fact that its in a pot, although I know Rob Atkinson has had one as a bonsai for many years without any problems.
Fiona, - you know the set up in my garden,(here are some pictures for those that don't http://www.pembrayr.com/ab1_a.htm ) There are always birds about, and yes, these attract cats but I doubt if there is any connection.
I am tempted to stick it in the garden now as I don’t see what I have got to lose – it’s obviously not going to be shown this year!
Any other ideas?

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  JimLewis on Tue May 07, 2013 9:47 pm

You're lucky to have Fiona around, then, Peter. But please don't expect some of our old gray heads to remember where you are from. A reminder in your profile or signature is a BIG help.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Mal B on Wed May 08, 2013 11:00 am

There's quite a few of us down here, apart from Rob who have no problem keeping them healthy in pot's Peter Very Happy . How do you water the tree, i.e from the hose or from water butt, what does the soil consist of and what time of year are you pruning.


Mal

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Thu May 09, 2013 8:49 pm

Hi Malcolm, The tree was last re-potted in April 2011, into a mix of 50/50 Akadama /Cat litter.
It was last pruned at the end of August 2012.
Having listened to various advice, I decided that I needed to re-pot the tree (rather than simply putting it in the garden). I did it last night with some help from my friend Jeff, Banning. The following images tell the story;-
The tree in its original pot before I started.


Some better pictures of the damaged foliage





As you can see it looks like a reasonably free draining mix.





When I got the tree out, I found that the material had broken down and was compacted, but it seemed to be draining OK. The root certainly filled the pot but not to the extent that I would call root bound as I have seen with other trees. The root ball was moist, but not wet, there were no signs of root rot, Vine weevil or any other bugs, but nor any new growth , I.E. no white tips on the roots. I felt that the Akadama had broken down a bit and you can see that the fine material was accumulating at the base of the pot. Over the last few years, I have been in the habit of not using a separate drainage layer in the bottom of the pot, and the results of that are clearly shown in this picture

Having raked out the roots and removed as much of the fine material as I dared, I decided to replant the tree into a larger Mica pot.



I put in a drainage layer of large horticultural grit, and when the tree had been bedded and tied into the pot, I sprinkled a layer of Mycorrhizal fungi onto the exposed roots. I used a proprietary product called “Rootgrow”, followed by a mix of 33% Akadama, 30% cat litter, and 30% EZO grit.





As you can see from this picture the mix is much coarser and free draining.



This picture shows the tree in its new pot and soil mix. Incidentally I think the size of the pot is much more in proportion.

The tree was thoroughly soaked and it will now be given a dose of “Superthrive” and left in a sheltered spot to recover. Although I will keep my fingers crossed for several weeks, I don’t know what more I can do. Here’s hoping it survives…… I will update this thread again in a few weeks.

Peter Thorne
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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Mal B on Thu May 09, 2013 11:13 pm

The soil mix is a huge improvement Peter, they don't like it to wet, the ideal time to work them is july through to Autumn, give them the spring to build their strength. I suspect the real problem your having with keeping these healthy is your soft water up there, at the same time Dougie lost the tree he got of Rob, I had sent another Squamata up to Bearsden to a family member, the tree showed the same symptom's your seeing, the tree was brought back down here and all I did was to put it in semi shade and within 2 month's the tree bounced back to health. Our water is as hard as granite and has a PH of 8.5, I suspect your water may be 6.5 or lower, it may be worth trying to buffer some of your water in a water butt and try watering this tree with that water.


Mal

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Thu May 09, 2013 11:21 pm

Hi Malcolm, I appriciate your comments. Its always good to get some constructive advice, that seems to make sense. When you say the best time to work on them is July I presume you mean for pruning, pinching etc. That is certainly the time that they seem to grow most vigorously.
I will keep you posted as to how the tree responds.

Peter Thorne
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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Mal B on Thu May 09, 2013 11:37 pm

Let the first flush of growth harden and extend, they really need this to rebuild their energy level's back up before you work them, very similar to Rigida, I've also stopped plucking the old brown needles, I prefer to cut them of these day's, less chance of damaging the shoot's that way. Finger's crossed this one come's back for you.


Mal

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Peter Thorne on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:49 pm

Hi Guys,  here is a bit of an update on my squmata,.  As you can see from the attached pictures, the tree seems to be recovering.  I wish I knew why!  Almost every shoot on the tree has now turned brown and  fallen off,  however in many cases there is new growth appearing at the base of the dead shoot.
The feed and watering routine has remained the same and I'm sure that the new soil mix will have helped, but I don't feel that any of these have been the key cause of the problem.  I'm more inclined to think it was a mite or fungal problem, and will be spraying for both as a routine precaution.  Does anyone have experience of preventative spraying?  If so what did you use and how frequently?







Peter Thorne
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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  crust on Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:38 am

Based on the listed symptoms and the look of the tree I believe your problem was not fungal or pests. In my experience infections and injury don't look like this in appearance or habit. I suspect this tree was staying too wet. Water PH and minerals may have played a role but I think as the soil degraded it worked against the plant. Perhaps adding pumice to your mix and reducing the cat litter would help it to stay healthy longer in the soil.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

Post  Bob Pressler on Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:20 pm

I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that crust is correct and it's a root issue caused by the tree staying too wet. In my experience that is the number one issue with these besides spider mites. Your new soil mix looks better, just be sure to let it dry pretty well between waterings.

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Re: Problems with a Squamata meyeri

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