Trident troubles, need advice

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Trident troubles, need advice

Post  chansen on Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:21 am

I've run into a problem that I've encountered once before. Last time I was sure it was due to the close proximity of time between root work and a hard freeze that lasted a few days (trident died a slow death). Now the situation is different.

I recently acquired a new trident. Bought it from a bonsai nursery where I have purchased a number of trees. I cut the roots back hard a few weeks ago as it was in desperate need of repotting. I put it in a lava/pumice/turface/bark mix. Same soil mix I use for all my trees without a problem.

I cut back some of the existing trunks/branching to bring things into relative shape. Nothing more drastic than what I've successfully done on other maples. The buds were starting to swell at the time.

We've had a fairly long winter/mild spring and due to my previous experience with loosing tridents with cold weather, I moved the tree into my unheated shed during the nights where the temps. were going to be below 40F (on the careful side since the forecast may be off).

The problem is, I'm running in to the same signs/symptoms the previous tree showed before it's slow demise. The buds opened but only one set of leaves emerged. They have stayed small and growth has not continued. Now the leaves are turning black at the tips, and it seems to be moving inward. Some of the buds pushed out a little, but are now black an crispy.

My other trident, which has graduated from stick in pot to bigger stick in a pond basket, was root pruned and cut back at the same time. It's doing just fine. The two trees have been treated the same over the course of the last few months. My other trees (chinese elm, zelkovas, acer p., american hornbeam) are all doing fine and are showing signs of normal growth.

At this point, I don't know what is doing this trident in. I'm worried, and I'm willing to do what is necessary to keep the tree alive. I'm even open to Superthrive Smile ! If anyone has thoughts as to the cause of the problem or thoughts of what I can do to save the tree... I'm all ears. I'll get pics of the tree up tomorrow.



Richmond, VA, USA
Zone 7a


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Re: Trident troubles, need advice

Post  NeilD3 on Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:33 pm

I've had tridents push one small set of leaves, the 2nd set was slower to come than normal. Light fertilization, kept it moist and warm (low to mid 50's) in an unheated garage and it pushed through the slow start and then picked up steam and started showing normal growth....That occurred because the tree was already weak, and or I took a bit too much of the roots. Likely if your tree was pot bound it was somewhat weak, and you took a large percentage of the feeder roots when you repotted.

I would be a bit worried if the 1st set of leaves drying out and there was no shoot activity/buds opening. The cold, wind or fungus has gotten to them......

I would just wait it out, don't let the tree dry out and do not fertilize. Sometimes doing nothing, is doing something.

Good luck.


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