Dawn Redwood and Oak seedlings in trouble

Scott B

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Hey all! I hope this is the right forum for this thread, if I need to post to a different one no worries.

Looking for advice on how to keep my last three year-old Dawn Redwood seedlings alive. I’m unsure if the browning and shedding of leaves is from dehydration, lack of fertiliser or lack of outdoor exposure. I began to acclimatise all 20ish of them to the outdoors in spring but they got zapped by a heatwave and only these 3 really recovered. I worry that keeping them indoors for most of a year has had adverse effects? Pics below. It’s been a very gradual decline over the last two or so months. Many leaves fall off at the slightest touch.

For reference I’m in Ireland and it is winter.

Similar situation for the Oak below, I got the acorn from a friend on the camino in Spain (maybe spanish oak then?). I have kept it indoors since germination last April and the original shoot turned the same pale green before shedding its leaves, it sent this current shoot subsequently up and now the same has happened, is this likely dehydration?
9C4D0289-A352-4D55-B79B-99F6EB2B8B2A.jpeg541C3F9D-72AE-4CC9-9446-44846AAC4EA6.jpeg636D94F2-5109-4DE2-A206-8BFBDA59F775.jpegThe curling and pale colour here makes me think dehydration, but seeing as the green is retained it may not be too late? The leaves are crinkly to touch.

Any and all thoughts appreciated! Thank you.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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They don't look good. Looks like they got too dry between watering. Root tips died back and now, even though soil is moist, they don't have enough live roots to keep them alive.

Too late to do much beyond keep them moist and bright until it is warm enough to put them outside.

Once safe to go outside, repot to larger pots and keep on top of the watering. Both dawn redwood and oaks can tolerate heat waves if you keep them well watered. They are "outdoor trees", and will be happier once back outdoors.
 

MiyagiFan

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I can only comment on the Oak as I had a sapling that croaked late summer and looked exactly like that and was crinkly but green.
I had mine outside and under shade but think I collected at wrong time and thinking the transpiration was faster than roots could support.
Thinking I should have put a clear plastic bag around it to keep humidity higher.
 

Forsoothe!

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Neither belongs in the house. They are programed to go to sleep last October! Their foliage is not supposed to last more than one growing season and they need at the very least a dry autumn with slowly diminishing photo period/intensity to prepare for the quiet period that rejuvenates them for the following spring. You are doomed to a quiet spring.

Do you not go to sleep at night just because somebody else has the lights and TV on? You can't fool Mother Nature.
 

Shibui

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Both these species are supposed to be deciduous. Even little seedlings are supposed to lose leaves when winter comes. I agree that the leaf damage looks like dehydration at some stage but now they are also trying to go dormant. I think it would be best to transition them to a cooler spot so they can go through a short dormancy and start growing new leaves in spring.
 

Scott B

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They don't look good. Looks like they got too dry between watering. Root tips died back and now, even though soil is moist, they don't have enough live roots to keep them alive.

Too late to do much beyond keep them moist and bright until it is warm enough to put them outside.

Once safe to go outside, repot to larger pots and keep on top of the watering. Both dawn redwood and oaks can tolerate heat waves if you keep them well watered. They are "outdoor trees", and will be happier once back outdoors.
Lovely stuff, thanks a mil! Would you say then that I shouldn't get them out now for a little dormant period beforehand?
 

Scott B

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I can only comment on the Oak as I had a sapling that croaked late summer and looked exactly like that and was crinkly but green.
I had mine outside and under shade but think I collected at wrong time and thinking the transpiration was faster than roots could support.
Thinking I should have put a clear plastic bag around it to keep humidity higher.
I had one outside that also had a similar issue I think, I was surprised the indoor one outlasted it at first but if this was the case for mine too it would make sense I suppose. Thanks a mil!
 

Scott B

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Neither belongs in the house. They are programed to go to sleep last October! Their foliage is not supposed to last more than one growing season and they need at the very least a dry autumn with slowly diminishing photo period/intensity to prepare for the quiet period that rejuvenates them for the following spring. You are doomed to a quiet spring.

Do you not go to sleep at night just because somebody else has the lights and TV on? You can't fool Mother Nature.
Yeah I wasn't sure if i'd get away with it, they're definitely suffering the consequences but hey it's a lesson learned for the next seedlings I do. Thanks for the tips!
 

Scott B

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Both these species are supposed to be deciduous. Even little seedlings are supposed to lose leaves when winter comes. I agree that the leaf damage looks like dehydration at some stage but now they are also trying to go dormant. I think it would be best to transition them to a cooler spot so they can go through a short dormancy and start growing new leaves in spring.
Perfect, thanks a mil! I'd actually just started to transition the Redwoods outside the last few days too thinking on a similar train of thought so i'll keep that up and do the same with the oak, am extending their exposure daily by 30-60 mins. Would you think that is suitable?
 

Shibui

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Perfect, thanks a mil! I'd actually just started to transition the Redwoods outside the last few days too thinking on a similar train of thought so i'll keep that up and do the same with the oak, am extending their exposure daily by 30-60 mins. Would you think that is suitable?
an extra hour per day should give them the opportunity to adjust to colder temps. As the leaves are likely to drop it doesn't matter so much if they get sunburn (is that even a thing in Ireland?)
You will need to check moisture levels more as they transition outside. They are likely to dry out more in wind and sun but will also get wet when it rains so check every day and water as needed.
 

Scott B

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an extra hour per day should give them the opportunity to adjust to colder temps. As the leaves are likely to drop it doesn't matter so much if they get sunburn (is that even a thing in Ireland?)
You will need to check moisture levels more as they transition outside. They are likely to dry out more in wind and sun but will also get wet when it rains so check every day and water as needed.
Brilliant thanks, and in the summer in a heatwave it’s definitely possible!
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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For THiS winter, avoid freezing. You don't need to be incremental in getting them outdoors, as long as you bring them back inside, or to a protected area when temperatures drop below freezing.

In autumn, it takes 2 to 3 months of steadily declining temperatures at night to allow a tree to make the metabolic adaptations to winter dormancy. That is why you should not take a tree grown for months indoors and just "plunk them out" in freezing weather. But temperatures above freezing are no problem. You can also simulate a winter using your refrigerator. However, spouses, partners, significant others, roommates and children old enough to complain will usually give one grief about trees in the same refrigerator with food. In addition, rapid dehydration can be an issue in a refrigerator.

Next winter, after a full summer growing outdoors, dawn redwood are winter hardy to temperatures well below freezing. My dawn redwoods are outside, right now, buried by a foot of snow. Their pots are simply set on the ground for winter. They have survived -15 F, which is -26 C in my back yard. The -26 C was just pots set on the ground, some loose mulch, no snow. They probably are even more cold tolerant than what I have experienced. I would try to bury them in deep mulch if the temps were predicted to get below -30 C.
 

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