Catastrophic Losses This Year

Josh88

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I have been into bonsai for about 7 years now, and have acquired some very nice trees with a lot of potential. I’m losing many of them and am having no luck at turning the tide. In February of 2020 we moved from Portland OR to Charlotte NC and I brought about 80 trees with me. The year in NC I barely worked any of my trees as health after the move was my focus. They met extreme humidity in Charlotte with all new fungal, insect, and disease issues for me, as well as wind that both desiccated leaves and ripped apart my benches at one point using a large tied down elm as a wind sail. A tough year to say the least, but most survived. In June we moved back to OR but now in the high desert in Bend. Now they are experiencing extreme heat and dryness. Two weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our dog (Biff has always been my profile pic here). His last week with us coincided with the record breaking heat wave, and although I watered as usual, my dog and my family needed my extra attention. The last two weeks have been a huge decline in health for so many of my trees. While I expect to be able to save some still, the damage done to almost every tree will set me back years. This loss on top of our dog is rather devastating to me. With such a crazy year and a half for the trees it’s hard for me to pinpoint one problem, as they don’t seem to be presenting the same way. Here are assorted pics of pines, some with yellowing tips, some with browning tips, some where massive sections of needles just turned dark brown, some where they dried right up in the heat. The pics include lodgepole, JBP, mugo, and white pine. I have been alternately spraying my whole collection with mancozeb and clearys 3336 but that doesn’t seem to be making a difference. Any help on how to get in front of this is greatly appreciated. This will be a big test in my resolve for this hobby, but I love it too much to let go.
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Carol 83

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Sounds like you've had a rough go of it. So sorry about your pup and your trees. Hopefully, someone here can offer some help for the trees.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Dang man, that's rough.
I wish I could tell you that your trees are going to be alright, but I've seen a couple pines of mine behave in the same way and they didn't make it in the end - the ones with the purple/black needles did though. Roots of mine were either cooked, desiccated or both, and then probably overwatered.
I don't see any fungal issues per say, so I'd skip the antifungals and just go back to regular watering. Antifungals can do a number on weaker trees, as they block certain biochemical pathways in both plants and fungi.

All the best!
 

Josh88

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Dang man, that's rough.
I wish I could tell you that your trees are going to be alright, but I've seen a couple pines of mine behave in the same way and they didn't make it in the end - the ones with the purple/black needles did though. Roots of mine were either cooked, desiccated or both, and then probably overwatered.
I don't see any fungal issues per say, so I'd skip the antifungals and just go back to regular watering. Antifungals can do a number on weaker trees, as they block certain biochemical pathways in both plants and fungi.

All the best!
Thank you
 

NaoTK

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The most common issues in the PNW are needle cast and overwatering. I don't see much banding from fungus and this does like overwatering to me. So overwatering-->root damage-->heat wave could be a terrible 1 2 3 combo.
 

Josh88

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Thanks Nao. I’ve tried to be very careful with watering, and considering how incredibly dry it is here I wasn’t expecting it to be a problem, but here we are… I wonder if perhaps they went into dormancy in the high heat and I didn’t notice the change. Don’t know, but hoping for a miracle a some point. Looking forward to seeing you up in Portland before long and getting a hold of some of your current work. Take care.
 

penumbra

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That is tough my friend. I wish I had advice but I am in the same area I was basically raised in and will likely die here. Moving can be tough on people but tougher on plants. Hope someone in your area and those familiar with moving will soon reply.😞
 

discusmike

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Three different climates in a short period of time, I’m sure is part of the problem, watering routines change, different diseases n insects
 

Hartinez

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Hey @Josh88 . I went through something Very similar last year with the exception of the loss of a fur buddy. I moved twice in a span of 6 months and had massive dieback and death on a number of my trees. Including several very beautiful collected specimen. On top of everything else last year it was a total blow and a bit depressing. All I can say is it will get better. My trees have done very well this year and I’ve really focused in on there care in ways I never did before. It also taught me a bit of lesson in terms of accepting things that are a bit out of my control and the massive presence of impermanence in life. Next year will be a banner year for you and you will triumph.
Sending Bonsai love.
 

Pj86

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Sorry to hear about your losses.

This might help you plan for the future. I use www.weatherspark.com to compare weather trends between cities. Looking at Portland, OR vs Charlotte, NC seems like the damage started most likely in early May. Precipitation and heat are going to be your major hurdles in NC during the summer.

Also, there is other useful data you can use in the site like wind and growing days. Hope this helps you.

Portland, Oregon

Screen Shot 2021-07-20 at 4.36.46 PM.jpg

Charlotte, NC

Screen Shot 2021-07-20 at 4.36.53 PM.jpg
 

Josh88

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Hey @Josh88 . I went through something Very similar last year with the exception of the loss of a fur buddy. I moved twice in a span of 6 months and had massive dieback and death on a number of my trees. Including several very beautiful collected specimen. On top of everything else last year it was a total blow and a bit depressing. All I can say is it will get better. My trees have done very well this year and I’ve really focused in on there care in ways I never did before. It also taught me a bit of lesson in terms of accepting things that are a bit out of my control and the massive presence of impermanence in life. Next year will be a banner year for you and you will triumph.
Sending Bonsai love.
Thank you very much. We’ve got to keep hope alive! : )
 

Shogun610

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So sorry to hear about the loss of your companion. Just take a deep breath , do what you can day by day.
Best regards,
James
 

casun

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I’m sorry to hear about your struggles and I hope things turn around soon for you.
 

Adair M

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Sorry for your loss Josh, brutal to lose yer best bud. The pines look similar to what @Adair M was battling with recently.
Indeed. In my case, my trees are in a better environment, and are recovering. From what it sounds like, Josh is now in a tough climate, and he may not be as lucky.

To treat the fungus, Josh should try using Bonide Infuse Systemic Granular Fungicide. It might help. And spray with copper fungicide.
 
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