Bald cypress dying or dead

Fishtank307

Shohin
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I absolutely hate to write this post...

I've had this bald cypress since last year. It was one of my favorite trees and I think I messed up pretty bad... It grew very well, had to prune it a couple of times during the growing season. Apart from a spider mite attack during spring, no problems whatsoever. It was very potbound, so in need of a repotting and root-pruning this spring. That's where I messed up, I guess.

Last year the buds popped and began showing green around mid May. Here's a picture of the tree on the 23d of May:
IMG_20180523_112621.jpg
(When it first started pushing growth, the tips were brown due to spider mites. I eventually got rid of them by spraying the tree every day with a soap solution and just keeping it in a very humid environment)

Here's the tree in full summer:
IMG_20180731_134445.jpg

Fast forward one year.

I repotted it a couple of weeks ago when the buds started to become visible. In hindsight, this was probably too soon. After repotting, we've have (at least) one week with a couple of nights when temps dropped just below freezing. Also, I went on vacation for one week and relied on my gf for watering my trees. It was pretty warm that week and she didn't exactly overwater them, if you know what I mean.

So now we're at the same time of year, one year later and still no growth. When I scratch of a bit of the bark, I can't see any green, it's all brown. I don't see any change in the buds and when I rub them off, they're crisp and dry.
I know it's hard to determine what I did wrong, without any pictures of the repotting. All I can say is that I removed aprox. half of the rootball and combed out the roots as much as possible. Seeing the soil was pretty dense, I left a good portion of the rootball intact. I then used akadama, volcanic particles and some organics as soil mixture.

Is there still hope? Is there anything I can do now? (apart from throwing it on the compost heap)
 

Fishtank307

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Here's a full picture of the tree now:
IMG_20190521_161315.jpg

I just noticed something hopefull. Apparently, it's started to push some roots. I completetly missed this when I examined the tree a couple of days ago.
IMG_20190521_161200-2.jpg
At the base, above soil level even.
IMG_20190521_161219-2.jpg

Also, there's still green underneath the bark at the base of the tree.
IMG_20190521_161353.jpg

But no green under the bark of the branches, or even the trunk up above, or near the buds.
IMG_20190521_161528.jpg

I really hope I panicked too soon writing this post, but I really want to be sure... So any tips regarding aftercare for BC after repotting are more than welcome!
 

GGB

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When you mess with them a lot they wake up late. Mine budded out April 10th this year. But I repotted last spring and didn’t get green until June 15th. You’ll get used to this species after a few years, they aren’t like other trees
 

Fishtank307

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Looks like it died back to the roots. It might sprout again but if that trunk is dead it is dead.
Could be, I'm just waiting for a miracle now.. And hoping the trunk didn't die all the way down
 

Tieball

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I’d keep that root covered....just in case it’s a part of a late wake-up time. It might present you with a very natural dieback to work with. Or. The trunk is just not awake yet and buds will pop out from those branch collars.
 

GGB

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for what it's worth, I'm far from a bald cypress expert, but I have a few and they don't typically pass the scratch test on the finer branches. And it looks to me like the last pic you posted clearly shows a live branch with a swelling bud on it.
 

Tieball

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for what it's worth, I'm far from a bald cypress expert, but I have a few and they don't typically pass the scratch test on the finer branches. And it looks to me like the last pic you posted clearly shows a live branch with a swelling bud on it.
Yup.....I missed that bud when looking at the photos. That’s alive and making progress.
 

wlambeth

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My suggestion is to get a hotel plastic pan about two feet by one foot and 6 inches deep fill it with water and then set your pot in the pan. Keep it full of water all summer long. In the fall you can empty the water and resume a normal watering schedule. They love to sit in water during the summer. Dispense with the carving until it has strengthened back up
 

Fishtank307

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Thanks everyone! I've put the tree back into its tub with water. The roots are well covered and wet, so now we just play the waiting game I guess. Here and there are buds that seem pretty alive. It's probably just a bit slow, as you guys suggest. It was so scary to see it stopping bud growth after repotting! I'm a lot more positive now though!
 

Tieball

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Thanks everyone! I've put the tree back into its tub with water. The roots are well covered and wet, so now we just play the waiting game I guess. Here and there are buds that seem pretty alive. It's probably just a bit slow, as you guys suggest. It was so scary to see it stopping bud growth after repotting! I'm a lot more positive now though!
Cool. Sounds like you have a solid approach and plan of action. Yet...I’m sure there will be moments of anxiety...none of us like to lose a tree...most of the time.
Keep posting progress along the way. I’m interested in your progression and how you approach new growth. You have an excellent looking trunk and I’m confident you’ll enjoy every step....except perhaps worrying about spring budding.
 

rockm

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I'd be very surprised if the tree isn't dead. It died back to the roots and the entire top of the tree was lost probable because it was left out in freezing weather as it began to push growth. BC will suffer in those conditions...
 

Cajunrider

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I have had BCs died all the way down to the last few inches of trunk and still they formed buds near the base 3 months later. This tree looks alive at the base to me. I hope it survives.
 

Fishtank307

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Buds haven't opened, it's just status quo.. No new buds have formed since the last update. I'm keeping it moist and hope for the best, but it doesn't look good right now. Temps have been rising the past couple of days (+23°C) and I expected to see some more movement right about now. Nothing.
 

Fishtank307

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I still have some hope. It's just fading every day till i see some green!
 
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