Help with my white pine

Phillthy

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Some of the needles on my white pine look dull and starting to turn a light brown. What can be causing this? And what can be done to get it back to a healthy looking tree
 

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0soyoung

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These sound like the symptoms of an already dead pine, particularly the dull colored part. Lets hope it is not so as it was a beauty.

Issues with the unexposed roots is my guess. Could have been damaged during winter. May have anoxia (too wet and/or poor draining substrate) which can be exaggerated by root rot (root drench with a solution of 1/4 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and enough water to make a quart may help).

A bit more background (last year, say) might help for understanding and dealing with this sad state.
 

Phillthy

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These sound like the symptoms of an already dead pine, particularly the dull colored part. Lets hope it is not so as it was a beauty.

Issues with the unexposed roots is my guess. Could have been damaged during winter. May have anoxia (too wet and/or poor draining substrate) which can be exaggerated by root rot (root drench with a solution of 1/4 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and enough water to make a quart may help).

A bit more background (last year, say) might help for understanding and dealing with this sad state.
That makes me sad. This is my favorite tree. So I should water the tree with a hydrogen peroxide/ water mixture? What does this do for the tree?
 

LanceMac10

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Looks familiar.....and I don't have much hope. Figured mine might have dried out a tad much this past summer. Lowest branch seems vigorous enough, I'll probably lop the top off and use one branch for a tree.

Hopefully you can have some buds show up soon....:confused::):)
 

JudyB

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Those buds actually look pretty ok. Looks like you may loose branches, but maybe the buds will live and you will have a different tree.
 

Phillthy

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Those buds actually look pretty ok. Looks like you may loose branches, but maybe the buds will live and you will have a different tree.
What should I be doing moving forward to ensure a healthy tree for this growing season?
 

JudyB

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I think you have to figure out what is wrong. If you have rotten roots, or winter damage or what. Did it stay too wet over winter?
Maybe that new service Owen has going on, called Bonsai Connect could help you diagnose?
 

Nybonsai12

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Those buds don’t look too good to me. Sorry to say I think this one is on the way out .
 

0soyoung

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That makes me sad. This is my favorite tree. So I should water the tree with a hydrogen peroxide/ water mixture? What does this do for the tree?
Makes me sad too :(:mad:. I like it a lot

So far, the ones I killed were ones I left in old nursery dirt too long - the dirt becomes very fine and its air-filled porosity essentially goes to zero. Roots must get air (oxygen, specifically). There are other ways of creating anoxia like 'overwatering'. Once there are some dead roots a fungus, phytophthora, that infects the dead ones and spreads into the live ones killing them too. Peroxide will kill phytophthora - yes, you would just pour the solution in the pot to 'drench' the roots. Peroxide releases reactive oxygen that nixes the pathogen and becomes plain ole water. The oxygen released will also give the roots a boost if anoxia has not killed everything already.

I've also killed pines by just bare rooting them. This is notably a problem with p. thunbergii (JBP) which is commonly the root stock for white pines. Another way I delivered the coup de gras is fiddling around trying make big bends and etee. styling them in the dead of winter - the shake rattle and roll tears fragile root tips and the pine desiccates before it is warm enough to for any root growth to repair the damage.

So, welcome to the club. You likely are on the road to becoming an expert like most of us. It is a pity this is happening to such a nice tree.

Watch those buds.
 

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Is it safe to repot the tree at this time if the soil isn’t good draining?
If that is the case then it should be repotted. The time of year is ok. Wether it is safe or not depends on the root condition. The top is usually a reflection of the health of the bottom.
If the tree was mine i would take the tree out of the pot and examine the roots. If the roots showed sign of rot then i would do an emergency repot and remove all dead roots carefully and put the tree back in a free draining mix. Most Pines do not stay healthy in compacted soil or too wet conditions. They like dry feet!
 

Adair M

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Is it safe to repot the tree at this time if the soil isn’t good draining?
So, are you saying that the soil isn’t draining well?

You didn’t show a close up of the soil, but from the one picture, it didn’t look good.

Is it safe? It could: A) kill the tree; B) Save the tree!
If the buds have not yet extended, you won’t be hurting new little roots by repotting.

If the roots are sitting in toxic soil, they’ll just die when they try to grow.

Given the choices, I’d repot into good soil. It may not work. But, you would know you gave it its best chance.
 

Phillthy

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When repotting pines. I know it isn’t safe to bare root these trees. How do I go about switching all of the soil if I can’t bare root the tree?
 

0soyoung

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When repotting pines. I know it isn’t safe to bare root these trees. How do I go about switching all of the soil if I can’t bare root the tree?
Do just one side (of the trunk).
Just loosen the perimeter of the other side.
Pot/fill/backfill with your favorite substrate.

Known as Half Bare Root

If it lives, you'll do the other half next year or so.
 

Adair M

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When repotting pines. I know it isn’t safe to bare root these trees. How do I go about switching all of the soil if I can’t bare root the tree?
Again, if you are doing emergency surgery, what is “safe” doesn’t matter!

You don’t bare root a perfectly healthy pine. Doing so is “unsafe”.

In your case, that tree is onlife support, and the monitor just “flat lined”!!! In situations like this, doing the “safe” option will result in a dead tree for sure. Your only hope is getting it into fresh, nontoxic soil. And hope you did it soon enough.
 

River's Edge

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When repotting pines. I know it isn’t safe to bare root these trees. How do I go about switching all of the soil if I can’t bare root the tree?
Stating general guidelines does not rule out specific advice to do otherwise in a particular situation. If you follow your line of reasoning you would just continue the path that brought you to this point. Doing the same thing but expecting a different result. So the choice is leave the tree in conditions that will kill it or attempt to improve the conditions before it is too late.
Bare rooting of trees is done all the time, with care and under the appropriate circumstances. And then with the proper follow up care.
I wish you the best whatever you decide.
 

Phillthy

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Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to bare root it tomorrow and hope for the best. What do dead/rotted roots look like so I can cut them off.
 

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